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Nevada's water warfare takes a 'Rango' turn

August 15, 2011 |  1:08 pm

Lakemead 
That old Western truism, "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting," certainly applies to Nevada.

Water officials in the urban southern part of the state have long argued they need to siphon water from the rural north to quench arid Las Vegas, the state's economic engine. But with the recession halting the growth that guzzled so much of the Colorado River, rural residents fearful that their land may turn into, well, California's Owens Valley have been handed a new line of argument in the water warfare.

The two sides will continue to do battle at a series of hearings this month regarding the Southern Nevada Water Authority's proposed pipeline. So observers of the long-running feud were amused when the authority's Las Vegas museum, the Springs Preserve, announced its selection for a recent kids movie night:

"Rango."

Let George Knapp, a KLAS-TV investigative reporter who's long covered water issues, explain:

"In the movie, a stranger arrives in the rural ranching community of Dirt and it becomes apparent the dirtonians have a water problem.... There had been plenty of water for the town and the ranchers, but somebody took it. Is this beginning to sound familiar? ...

The bad guy says that diverting the water is good for the future, meaning, future development. The hero, Rango, follows the trail until he finds out who benefits from stealing all that water. It's Las Vegas. Not a metaphor for Las Vegas, but the actual place, surrounded by plush green golf courses."

Little wonder that Knapp concluded: "And at the next Springs Preserve movie night, maybe a screening of Chinatown."

-- Ashley Powers in Las Vegas

twitter.com/ashleypowers

ALSO:

Sin City covets thy aquifers

When in doubt, blame Harry Reid

Bounty at Lake Powell follows record dry stretch

Photo:  At Nevada's Lake Mead, the white part of the rock shows the water level before the drought. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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