House of cards

Today's news includes the story that our country's experienced military leaders fear the effects of global warming may be a threat to homeland security and our security interests around the globe. Closer to home Southern Nevadans are being asked to support a plan that could crush their security. The Southern Nevada Water Authority's risky plan for exploiting the resources of rural Nevada, if allowed, will upset the delicate balance of life in the desert.

Unfortunately there are operatives, formerly known as newspapers in league with the Water Authority. Instead of educating Nevadans and those who might visit here about the devastating effect such a plan would have on the area these papers run off the wall editorials when a commissioner is not afraid to stand up for what is reasonable. It is difficult to decide where to start when addressing the problems with SNWA's suspicious scheme. To begin with SNWA and its partners routinely state a cost figure of $2 billion. Independent experts place the cost at between $12 billion and $20 billion. Even at the high end these estimates don't address that the deep water aquifers may have dissolved salts and require desalination.

Beyond even these fantastic costs of $2,000 for every man, woman and child living in Las Vegas there are much graver concerns about the water grab boondoggle. As it sits today Las Vegas is beholden to a pipeline to bring fuel to the valley. That fragile line supplies everything -- fuel for generators, chain-saws, automobiles and airplanes. An attack on this line or a natural disaster (did I mention that Nevada and California are rather well known for seismic activity?) would leave sin city crippled. The problems, however large, could be overcome. A lot of rationing and setting priorities would be at the top of the list to make sure our police cars and fire trucks still function. Most of us would be spending a lot of time at home, perhaps getting to know our neighbors better, and of course we would be drinking water.

Though it is anything but convenient one can go some time without fuel, especially if the electrical and communications systems are still functional. Water on the other hand is responsible, like the breath we breathe and the heart beating within our chests for sustaining our lives. The rule of threes says a person can go for three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. To even have the appearance of a secure pipeline SNWA would have to be contemplating hundreds of miles of secure, armored facilities. Heaven forbid a more sophisticated form of terrorism where a terrorist might infuse the pipeline with a toxin or a binary chemical system where upon the delivery of a second chemical serious illness would result.

Las Vegas was built on card houses... the literal sort where games of chance paid the way for low-cost buffets and production shows. Now is not the time to risk the future of the city on a house of cards so risky the most ardent gambler would walk away.