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In fact, I've heard one estimate, from a respectable independent source, at possibly near 20 billion dollars.
So it isn't unreasonable to be prepared to pay 10 billion dollars for this.
Due to a number of efficiency advances in the desalination process, the power needed to desalinate water is now one tenth of what it used to be.
The price of desalinating water is now 20 cents per cubic meter – approximately one third of what SNWA presently charges for water. If Southern Nevada were to build off-shore desalination plants, as needed to respond to Las Vegas' immediate demand, the up front costs would be far cheaper.
The (likely contrived) crisis at Lake Mead has nothing to do with how much water Las Vegas receives from the Colorado River.
Right now, not very many people will pay the present hook-up fee.
You may think of yourself as a decent person who has done a number of good things in your life. History will not remember you for all those things. The only thing people remember him for is the destruction of Owens Valley.
You will be remembered for the destruction of the Central Great Basin. Of course, people will remember you for one more thing; astronomically raising their water bills.
But there is one more thing we don't want to overlook.
We can't fit another million people into the Las Vegas Valley.