Perea to speak at water forum

White Pine County resident Gary Perea will be one of the representatives attending the annual Central Nevada Regional Water Authority Forum, which began on Oct. 17. The forum sees presentations and panels to help discuss and inform people from across Nevada and Utah of water issues facing the region.

“I am looking forward to the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority Forum,” Perea said. “This is the annual water forum that the organization sponsors. It is designed to bring people together form the rural parts of our state to help educate and inform ourselves and others about water issues.”

This year’s forum will also feature participants from California and, for the first time in the forum’s history, will not be hosted in Nevada. In addition to presentations, the Forum will also host a field trip that Perea said he hopes will have an impact on everyone in attendance.

“This is the first time that our forum will be held outside of Nevada,” Perea said. “It is being held in Bishop, Calif. Along with our forum, there will be a field trip to the Owens Valley. Los Angeles water and power will be giving us a tour of the facility. As we all know, LA dried up the Owens Lake and has been lowering the water table for years.”

The forum also features numerous panels to talk about different water issues facing rural counties in Nevada, California and Utah. Panels include discussions on Great Basin Weather and Climate with a focus on water supply for the future and discussion of the Los Angeles aqueduct project monitoring, management and mitigation programs. Perea will be on the panel discussing how to address a project that will impact the water resources of a water basin shared by two states.

The final panel will discuss how to address the Las Vegas Valley’s projected water supply needs. White Pine County is no stranger to water issues. Earlier this year, oral arguments were held in Ely as numerous groups argued for a judge to overturn the State Water Engineer’s ruling to grant SNWA water rights. A decision has not been handed down.

But with a proposed pipeline by the Southern Nevada Water Authority into rural Nevada, White Pine County and its surrounding areas have become the focus of water debates around the west and the country. And Perea said he’s hoping that everyone in attendance can leave with a better understanding of the situation and impacts White Pine County and other areas could face in the future.

“I look forward to the field trip and forum,” Perea said. “It is my hope we will learn more about the negative impacts of large ground water projects and inter-basin transfers.”

Perea said he plans to report on his findings from the Forum to the White Pine County Commission. And as the commission awaits the ruling on its case against the SNWA pipeline, it’s events like these that are imperative to White Pine County going forward, Perea said.

“White Pine County has been put in the middle of water discussions around the country,” Perea said. “It is important that the county stays up to date and is part of these discussions.”

As the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority Forum brings together representatives from California, Nevada and Utah, Perea said, above all, he hopes everyone leaves with a better realization of the dangers and risks that water projects like the SNWA pipeline can pose to areas.

“I hope they will see what a disaster these large water projects can be to the area the water is taken from,” Perea said.

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