From the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Henry Brean):
Mulroy was one of the featured speakers during the organization’s conference at Mandalay Bay. She told attendees that the nation will need to pursue large, cooperative solutions to the problems posed by population growth and climate change…
Under Mulroy’s vision, floodwaters from the Mississippi and its western tributaries would be captured and diverted to irrigate crops as far away as Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Those agricultural areas could then be taken off the Colorado River system, leaving enough water for Las Vegas and other growing Western cities well into the future.
About 350 million acre-feet of water a year runs down the main stem of the Mississippi River when it isn’t flooding. That’s roughly 25 times more water than the Colorado River carries in an average year.
Mississippi floodwater also could be diverted to the Central Plains to recharge the massive Ogallala Aquifer, which covers about 174,000 square miles from Texas to South Dakota…
Las Vegas-based consultant Tom Skancke said water is a national issue that requires a national solution. “We’ve got to start breaking down these walls that are keeping us from protecting our country and our children’s future,” he said.
As it stands now, the United States has no cohesive water policy. Water issues are managed by a patchwork of disparate federal agencies and fought over by state and local entities in disputes as old as the Wild West, Mulroy said. If the nation’s interstate highway system were built the same way as its water infrastructure, “you couldn’t leave one state and travel to another state. It would stop at the border,” she said.
Wednesday’s panel discussion was held as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Invest in Water” initiative. The event and others like it will be used to help the organization develop a policy position on water and urge lawmakers to act on it.
More pipeline from the Mississippi coverage here.