September 1, 2009

Authority may invest in cloud seeding

A state water authority manager suggests providing public funds for seeding clouds in Northern Nevada for drinking water in Las Vegas.

Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy suggested his agency provide funds to keep a Desert Research Institute cloud seeding program operating, The Las Vegas Sun reported Monday.

Water authority staff members must determine whether it would be in southern Nevada's best interest to fund part of the cloud-seeding program, so the DRI could continue seeding above the Colorado River basin and other basins.

DRI has 23 cloud-seeding stations in Nevada and six in the Sierra Nevada range along the California border, which create an additional 65,000 acre-feet of precipitation, mostly snow. This increases the snowpack by between 2 percent in wet years and 10 percent in drought years.

When that melts some of the water recharges the aquifers in the lower valleys and provides water to Las Vegas, Las Vegas Valley Water District spokesman J.C. Davis said.