It’s hard to resist the gunslinger metaphor when reading Henry Brean’s story about Pat Mulroy’s Las Vegas water pipe ultimatum:
To shore up support for a controversial project, Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy will ask her board for an “up-or-down vote” on plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from across rural eastern Nevada.
In a surprise announcement Thursday, Mulroy said she wants the vote held later this month “in order to show that the political will is still there to move forward with the project.”
The move comes in response to a recent surge in opposition to the multibillion-dollar pipeline, she said.
Mulroy is the larger-than-life manager of Las Vegas, Nevada’s water supply, and as Emily Green notes, “the project that has been the focal point of her career.” The argument is that there is a risk of Lake Mead dropping so low that Las Vegas’s water system goes dry, and that the pipeline, to bring in groundwater from hundreds of miles away a la Owens Valley, is critical to her city’s future. Critics disagree. The call for a vote is an attempt to get Las Vegas’s political leadership to put up or shut up.
This is high stakes western water politics, no doubt.