Nevada Governor Urges Bold Ideas at Drought Conference

By William Carlile

Sept. 21 — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) convened the state's drought summit Sept. 21 with a call to delegates to come up with innovative solutions to address water shortages that future generations would view as transformational.

“Where could this be more important than here in Nevada, the driest state in the nation?” Sandoval asked participants gathered in the chambers of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City.

The three-day Nevada Drought Forum was created through Executive Order 2015-03 signed by Sandoval April 8. 

“What an opportunity,” he said, to have one such solution or contribution be put into practice, “and future generations look back upon that action as having provided the water security that Nevadans hope for and need.”

He urged delegates to invest in a shared understanding of current conditions and predictions. From this he hoped would emerge “the kind of practices and policies that should be considered in response to drought both now and into the future.”

Nevada, he said, has always been recognized as being forward-thinking, innovative and successful” in its water policy.

“This is not a problem that we can leave for future generations,” Sandoval said. “It's going to come back. It's our moment and our time to lead.”

Sandoval urged participants to think about the possibility of one of their own innovative solutions or contributions becoming part of a policy legacy that would emerge from the summit, which ends Sept. 23.

A lesson from the Western Governors Association's June meeting on water policy and drought at Lake Tahoe, chaired by Sandoval, was the need “to communicate well across all sectors, so that we can work together to make the best use of the water available to us”.

The session continues with discussions on water law and history, as well as discussions on the cost of droughts.

The forum consists of members of local water municipalities, state government, higher education, and climate experts as part of the summit. Three forum meetings have taken place, with a fourth scheduled for next week in the state capital, Carson City. Its goal is to produce and submit a set of recommendations to the governor by year's end.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Carlile in Phoenix at wcarlile@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com