Watering the quotes

Forty-two days after telling the Fallon Rotary Club he thinks a plan transferring water from rural counties to the Las Vegas Valley should be scrapped, Gov. Jim Gibbons said he supports the water transfer as “part of the solution.”

Gibbons’ original comments were reported by the Lahontan Valley News on Feb. 21, at the end of a piece mostly dedicated to state budget issues: “Instead of pitting northern and southern Nevada against each other over water, Gibbons proposed scrapping the idea of a pipeline to move water down south. He suggested the state aid in building water desalinization plants in California and trade water credits on the Colorado River.” Although those comments generated sharp criticism in Clark County, including an editorial in the Las Vegas Sun, he did not deny making them—until this week.

In a Las Vegas news conference on April 3, Gibbons said, “They didn’t quote me saying that, because I didn’t say that. … I didn’t say we should scrap that project.”

After checking her notes from the Rotary appearance, Fallon reporter Christy Lattin stood by her account of Gibbons’ comments. “That’s what he said,” she said. Her notes showed an unpublished quote from the governor: “Before we allocate water to anybody else we need to know what we’ve got.”