The saints of Utah are denouncing the plans of Las Vegas (Sin City) to export water from the Snake Valley (which lies in both Nevada and Utah) to southern Nevada. As they recall the [real] horrors visited upon Owens Valley and the Aral Sea, I wonder how this is all going to end. Will there be years of court battles? A dusty desert in the Snake Valley?
As I recall, the Southern Nevada Water Authority bought land in the Valley (fair and square) and plans to export water underlying the land. These exports will far exceed current withdrawals as well as leaving the basin, so there's a legitimate reason to fear that the area will experience some environmental damage.*
My question is this -- are the good people of Utah willing to pay the bad people of Las Vegas to NOT take that water? They are worried about adverse health consequences and ecological damage, sure, but are they only willing to forestall it in the courts?
Bottom Line: Groundwater laws certainly need to be reformed, but---until they are---they are laws. If the people of Utah (and other places) want that water to stay where it is, they need to pay Vegas to leave it there. I don't see that happening, so I do see those exports happening. A pity.
* I've opposed it in these posts. This article details the "battle of the models," as both sides attempt to show their future vision by manipulating parameters, etc. At least some groundwater hydrologists are getting more work!