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No Drought In Mesquite? Don't Be So Sure


The Virgin River
"Virgin River 6" by Stan Shebs. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Virgin River flows through Mesquite, providing water to the town, but is it enough to stave off the drought?

Nevada is firmly in the grip of a drought.

But there’s one place in the state that appears to be something of an oasis in the desert.

Nevada state engineer Jason King recently said Mesquite, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, is flush with water.

In The Spectrum newspaper, water officials said Mesquite probably doesn’t have to worry for another 30 to 40 years because of an aquifer of some 3 million acre-feet underground.

The report has raised some eyebrows.

While Mesquite may be doing fine right now, Pat Mulroy, former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, urged caution to Virgin Valley Water Authority officials.

“I guess what causes me concern with that statement, it’s the same assumptions (the SNWA) made (in 2007),” said Mulroy, the senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy for the Brookings Institution West. “We assumed the hydrology we’re living today not to be coming about until 2050 or 2060.

“It’s not that we’re in a drought, it’s the rate at which the drought is deepening.”

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Pat Mulroy, senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy for the Brookings Mountain West.

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