weather icon Clear

Western states’ governors tackle drought at forum

INCLINE VILLAGE — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed water experts and managers from around the West on Tuesday to scenic Lake Tahoe, where they reviewed a final report on dealing with drought and meeting the myriad challenges that come with competing demands for a dwindling resource.

The drought forum preceded a three-day annual meeting of the Western Governors’ Association held this week. Sandoval has served as chairman of the organization for the past year, and in that role initiated an in-depth look at drought plaguing much of the West and how states and communities can best prepare for drought and emerge from it.

“There’s a lot of opportunity there to save water,” he said.

Having the power to make it rain or snow being out of the question, Sandoval said the next best thing is identifying best practices on how to deal with it.

From devastating fires like one burning 30 miles south of Lake Tahoe to fallow fields in the heart of California’s farm country and lost recreation opportunities that bring tourist dollars, the four-year drought is having serious consequences.

But experts Tuesday reminded participants that drought is not new. The infamous Dust Bowl in the last century lasted 20 years, and historical evidence points to droughts lasting a century or more.

What is different is the urbanization of the West, a growing population and increased competition for a scarce resource.

The 22-page report outlines seven areas critical to modern-day drought management, from better data on snowpack and soil moisture to expanding uses of recycled water, conservation and changing public behavior.

Leo Drozdoff, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said the Western Governors’ Association report is a first step and gives states recommendations on how to develop priorities.

“A lot of the recommendations tee up the next round of recommendations,” said Drozdoff, who served on the governors’ association drought forum. “I do think what we want to do now is drill a little deeper.”

Sandoval in April announced formation of a Nevada Drought Forum, which will build upon the report released Tuesday to devise best practices for water management in the Silver State. Historical data show droughts lasting decades.

That state report is expected later this year.

In California, where Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a 25 percent cut in water use, the reductions have pitted residents against businesses, industry against industry and led to public shaming of perceived water wasters.

“The public has not across this state fully accepted the breadth of the situation and what it means,” said John Laird, California’s secretary of natural resources.

And they can pray for a change in weather patterns to bring snow and rain during the winter. Evidence suggests a wet winter could be developing in the Pacific Ocean.

Robert Webb, director of the physical sciences division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said temperature readings in the Pacific show the presence of an El Niño, a warming of the ocean waters often associated with wet winters. But exactly where the storms may track or how much precipitation they may bring is still a guess at this point.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Nevada Highway Patrol receives $100k public safety grant

By putting in additional efforts to combat drunk and distracted drivers along Silver State roadways, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division has received a grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety for targeted DUI enforcement campaigns during the coming year.

Fire restrictions lifted at Humboldt-Toiyabe

The ban and other restrictions, which previously applied only to federal lands such as the Humbldt-Toiyabe National Forest, have been expanded to all public lands in Nevada.

FDA pushes for reduction in salt in packaged foods, restaurants

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released guidance on Wednesday in an effort to reduce the amount of salt in food products at restaurants, school cafeterias and packaged and prepared foods. Food makers, however, are not obligated to take action in the voluntary guidance.

Social Security benefits to rise 5.9% in 2022

The Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living raise of 5.9% starting in 2022, the largest annual increase in 40 years. The rise, however, comes in the face of other increases in food, shelter and other goods.

Solar project discussion riles Pahrump citizens

The Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Committee had what may very well have been the biggest turnout the advisory body has ever seen before during its Tuesday, Oct. 12 meeting.

Pumpkin Days returns to Pahrump next weekend

Fall is in the air and for the town of Pahrump, that means it’s almost time for Pumpkin Days.

Adam Laxalt stumps in Pahrump

U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt made a stop in the valley last week, spending some time at local eatery Mom’s Diner to speak with area residents as he ramps up his campaign for the 2022 election.

Pahrump local’s Kids Costume Car Wash a success

Pahrump resident Shauna “Shay” Dragna and her three youngsters, Cayleigh, Caden and Conner, have spent the last month focusing on their very first public philanthropy project and though they entered into the endeavor without any previous experience and absolutely no idea how it might turn out, the results of their efforts are bearing some very positive fruit.

Cegavske won’t allow tax petitions off 2022 ballot

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has told Attorney General Aaron Ford in a letter the state constitution doesn’t allow for petitions to be withdrawn.