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Nevada Considers Restoring Cloud Seeding Program

Janet Hudson / Flickr
 

Janet Hudson / Flickr

Nevada Lawmakers are considering a bill to restart the state’s cloud seeding program at a cost of a half-million dollars.

Six cloud seeding machines have sat idle in eastern Nevada’s Ruby Mountains since state funding was dropped in the economic downturn. The area’s been in a drought for 15 years. Republican Senator Pete Goicoechea represents the area. He told the Senate Committee on Finance that cloud seeding is cheap compared to buying water and trucking it.

“If we have to start hauling water to people, we are already doing it for our livestock, but if you have to start hauling water to people, it gets a lot more expensive than what we are asking for here.”

Even though the cloud seeding would affect only a small area in eastern Nevada, every large water agency in the state attended the hearing to support the bill. Greg Bortolin is the Desert Research Institute’s Director of Government Affairs.

“I think everybody realizes the severity of the drought.”

For cloud seeding to work, there must be storm clouds and there aren’t many storms in a drought. But supporters agree its important to have cloud seeding ready if a storm comes.