Water grab stakes
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The case of the Nevada West Desert water heist is complicated. Nevada demands water for fountains and pools in Clark County; water law makes little allowance for how water is used.

Lest we be self-righteous, we persist in our own billion-dollar program for the St. George pipeline, a city that uses twice as much water per person than Las Vegas.

A more sensible course for Nevada would be to join California in desalinization solutions, probably a more economical approach in the long run.

A complex and potentially fallible program to monitor water tables from the Deep Creek Mountains has been negotiated between Nevada and Utah. Though based on what may be false promises to stop pumping if levels drop, the agreement's value is that it's the only way Utah can influence Nevada's water grab.

Many say Utah's governor shouldn't sign the agreement, as if that makes the problem go away. But like Utah, Nevada is fully prepared to go to court to protect sovereignty, a concept judges almost always honor.

It's like your uncle who has a drinking problem — you can't force him to stop, but you might get him to stick to his recovery program.

Ted Wilson

Salt Lake City