The Snake Valley Water Dispute: Forecast For a Water Crisis in America's Southwest, or a Catalyst for Change in Water Policy?
AbstractWater policies in Utah and Nevada have created a sense of entitlement when it comes to fresh water. The result of that attitude is catching up to them both in the form of a worsening water shortage. Southern Nevada stands in a particularly difficult spot, as its population has grown nearly as rapidly as its water sources have depleted. Consequently, southern Nevada has looked eastward for new sources of fresh water, specifically in the Snake Valley region between Nevada and Utah. A majority of the available water, however, lies underneath Utah, creating a political and geographical debate that has raged for over 20 years. Many questions in the debate have focused on which side deserves what, but the true question is whether anyone besides the Snake Valley itself deserves the water in the first place. This article will seek to answer that question, specifically by looking at water policies in each state and determining the actual roots of the problem. The Snake Valley dispute could, ideally, be an indication that water policies must change. Suggestions will be given as to how both states’ policies could change, which would solve not only the Snake Valley dispute, but those which will inevitably follow it if current policies remain.
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