In the Hive

The odd-bedfellows coalition that held off Las Vegas’s bid to pump water out of the Great Basin


This week on In the Hive we continue our look at water in Utah and the West. For 31 years, a battle has been waging between water purveyors in the city of Las Vegas and residents along the Utah-Nevada border over aquifers beneath a number of Great Basin valleys. For three decades, in and out of the courts, the two sides fought over water rights, the science behind groundwater pumping, and the future of a remote high-desert region. Then, a little over a month ago, Las Vegas decided they didn’t need the water after all. We hear about the coalition that fought Vegas tooth-and-nail for decades, and about why a big pipeline project now appears to be dead in the water.

Tom Baker, rancher in Baker, Nevada
Steve Ericskon, consultant with the Great Basin Water Network
Paul Hejmanowski, trial lawyer representing the LDS Church’s Cleveland Ranch
Delaine Spilsbury, member of the Ely Shoshone Tribe and GBWN board member

(A storm in the West Desert. Roger McDonough | KCPW)
Delaine Spillsbury (right) of the Ely Shoshone Tribe, and her son Rick in June. (Roger McDonough | KCPW)
Tom Baker on his ranch, which spans the Utah-Nevada border (Roger McDonough | KCPW)
Artwork commemorating the ranching history of the Great Basin (Roger McDonough | KCPW)
Clouds over the Snake Valley (Roger McDonough | KCPW)
In the Hive
From local politics, to arts and culture, to history, the environment and beyond, “In the Hive” explores the issues and ideas that tie Utah together. Produced by KCPW Studios
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