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Nevada’s water proposal deserves good long look

The Department of Interior has shied away from imposing a comprehensive conservation plan on Colorado River users, preferring instead that the seven states involved hash out their own agreement to address shortages tied to drought and overallocation.

But absent a stick, the carrot approach has failed. The states have missed repeated deadlines for a deal. The latest goal is for the states to forge a compromise by February.

The idea is to reduce consumption of river water by up to 4 million acre-feet in 2023. Practically, this has little to do with Nevada, which has a piddling allocation of just 300,000 acre-feet, the least of the seven states. California leads the way with 4.4 million acre-feet followed by Colorado (3.86 million), Arizona (2.85 million), Utah (1.71 million), Wyoming (1.04 million) and New Mexico (840,000).

Southern Nevada has made great strides at conservation, using less water today than it did 20 years ago despite significant population growth. In addition, many people don’t realize that the vast majority of Colorado River water — 80 percent — supports agriculture and the economies, particularly in California, that depend upon it. The problem is also complicated by complex, decades-old legal doctrine involving water rights and use priorities.

There are differences among the states over how to achieve conservation goals and who should bear the brunt of any cuts. Upper-basin states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — argue that the lower-basin states should pay a larger price because they have more options to tap downstream reservoirs. But the federal government has already imposed modest reductions in allocations on Nevada and Arizona as a means of slowing the drain of those reservoirs, which constitute Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

With California showing virtually no appetite for leading the way, Nevada water officials this week unveiled a proposal to meet conservation targets while preserving the ability of Lake Mead and Lake Powell to generate hydropower. The plan involves sacrifice from all seven states and includes adjusting lower-basin allocations in recognition of evaporation losses; earlier triggers for cuts in Nevada, Arizona and California; and modest mandatory cuts in the upper-basin states.

The goal is to share the pain across the entire system.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority proposal will be controversial and subject to myriad revisions by those seeking to protect their home turf. But it’s a start. The alternative is to have Washington step in with more punitive and less palatable edicts. The water authority has offered a plan forward. It’s up to the states to get serious.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.