Los Angeles Will Borrow Water from Las Vegas
But the big news may be that Las Vegas has water to spare in the first place.
Last week, water authorities in Los Angeles and Las Vegas announced that they were in talks to make a deal that seemed too outlandish to be true: Las Vegas was going to provide Los Angeles with water. Now, according to Southern California Public Radio, that deal is really happening.
On Thursday, Las Vegas signed off on a $45 million agreement to provide 300,000 LA homes with water from Lake Mead, the reservoir created by the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead, to refresh your memory, is less of a lake, and more of a "fuck you" to God that allows America's Southwest to have green lawns and golf courses for no reason.
But of course, now California is in the middle of one of worst droughts in its recorded history, and God is returning that "fuck you," as recent photos of Lake Mead suggest:
Lake Mead and other reservoirs along the Colorado River help keep cities like San Diego and Phoenix—as well as Las Vegas and Los Angeles—alive. Lake Mead is the largest of these reservoirs, and the drought ravaging the Southwest has recently brought it down to 38 percent capacity, its lowest level ever.
So if you imagined that this new deal means water will be piped to Los Angeles from a big water tower in Las Vegas, that's not right. Instead, imagine that water not being piped to Las Vegas from a rapidly-drying lake in the middle of the desert, and instead being piped to Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles area Metropolitan Water District board still has to vote on the deal this coming week, but since Los Angeles desperately needs the water, it looks like the vote is just a formality. If the deal is approved, LA will essentially be buying 150,000 acre-feet of water, and since one acre-foot translates to approximately two house-years, that's 300,000 households that don't have to die of thirst in the next year.
John Entsminger of the water authority in Las Vegas says his city has water to spare because since 2002, residents there have cut their use by almost a third. Nonetheless, the chief of Metropolitan Water District, Jeffrey Kightlinger says that the deal is temporary, and insists that Los Angeles will sell all this water back the minute Las Vegas needs it.
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Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Photographersnature