Long-term extreme drought still problem for Nevada
Nevada climate experts say recent storms will do little to stem the tide of Nevada’s long-term extreme drought.
Several climate officials, water experts and university professors met Thursday at the first meeting of the Nevada Drought Forum, which was created by Gov. Brian Sandoval to implement a statewide water review and to recommend potential policy changes.
Nevada state climatologist Doug Boyle said recent storms will raise precipitation averages in parts of eastern Nevada including Elko and Humboldt counties, but recent rainfall will do little more than delay summer weather conditions for the rest of the state.
He said extreme weather conditions are accelerated by higher-than-normal temperatures and a severe lack of snow.
“It’s been a nice, wet May, but the rest of the year it’s been dry,” he said. “The take-home message is that it’s warmer than normal, and it’s going to be dry.”
Sandoval created the drought forum in April to collect information from state agencies and departments on water usage, and to organize a “Drought Summit” in September. Nevada is in the fourth year of extreme drought, and forum members say the state needs to prepare for the possibility of extended extreme weather.
Southern Nevada Water Authority head John Entsminger said that the drought study was necessary given the overallocation of water in the Colorado River, which the Las Vegas area depends on for most of its water.
“We have to be prepared for the river to produce less water than it has in the past,” he said. “This isn’t something that we’re going to have decades to adapt to.”
Forum members agreed to hold several interim meetings before the September summit in Carson City.