Drought continues to wreak havoc in the American west, especially in places like Lake Mead. The impact of climate change plays itself out in the water arena says Brookings Senior Fellow Pat Mulroy, former general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. She discusses the crisis Southern Nevada faced during one of the worst droughts in the history of the Colorado River.
Pat Mulroy served as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) from 1993 until retiring in February 2014. Mulroy has accumulated decades of experience in water resource management. She also served as the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District from 1989 until her retirement.
“All around us we see the bridges of life collapsing, those capillaries which create all organic life. This dreadful disintegration has been caused by the mindness and mechanical work of man, who has wrenched the living soul from the Earth’s blood – water.
The more the engineer endeavours to channel water, of whose spirit and nature he is today still ignorant, by the shortest and straightest route to the sea, the more the flow of water weighs into the bends, the longer its path and the worse the water will become. The spreading of the most terrible disease of all, of cancer, is the necessary consequence of such unnatural regulatory works. These mistaken activities – our work – must legitimately lead to increasingly widespread unemployment, because our present methods of working, which have a purely mechanical basis, are already destroying not only all of wise Nature’s formative processes, but first and foremost the growth of the vegetation itself, which is being destroyed even as it grows. The drying up of mountain springs, the change in the whole pattern of motion of the groundwater, and the disturbance in the blood circulation of the organism – Earth – is the direct result of modern forestry practices. The pulsebeat of the Earth was factually arrested by the modern timber production industry. Every economic death of a people is always preceded by the death of its forests. The forest is the habitat of water and as such the habitat of life processes too, whose quality declines as the organic development of the forest is disturbed. Ultimately, due to a law which functions with awesome constancy, it will slowly but surely come around to our turn. Our accustomed way of thinking in many ways, and perhaps even without exception, is opposed to the true workings of Nature. Our work is the embodiment of our will. The spiritual manifestation of this work is its effect. When such work is carried out correctly, it brings happiness, but when carried out incorrectly, it assuredly brings misery.“