- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Southern Nevada Water Authority and Nevada’s state engineer are appealing a district judge’s ruling that rejected state approval needed for Las Vegas to draw water from rural valleys straddling the Nevada-Utah border.

The case that has been going on for decades now heads back to the Nevada Supreme Court for a second time after notices of appeal were filed Jan. 23, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (https://bit.ly/1d36VQK ) reported.

In December, Senior District Judge Robert Estes ordered state Engineer Jason King to reconsider his March 2012 approval for the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pump billions of gallons of groundwater a year from sites in White Pine and Lincoln counties.

Among other things, the judge ordered King to recalculate how much water is available in the Spring Valley, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys. He also said more hydrological studies were needed as well as standards for when mitigation is required to prevent environmental damage.

Estes faulted the underpinnings of King’s findings, including studies by the water authority, and pointed to the more than 20,000-square-mile projected pumping area.

Las Vegas’ main water source is Lake Mead, a reservoir on the Colorado River that has dropped to less than half-full because of ongoing drought in the Southwest.

The water fight between thirsty Las Vegas - home to 2 million people and host to 40 million visitors a year - and environmentalists and communities hundreds of miles away has been a decades-long battle and likely will be tied up in courts for years to come.

“It takes a long time to get through the state Supreme Court,” Susan Joseph-Taylor, King’s deputy administrator for water rights, told the Review-Journal.

Justices dealt the water authority a big setback in2010 when they ruled the state engineer waited too long to act on dozens of water rights applications filed decades before. The court ordered new hearings on the applications, which were held over a six-week period in late 2011.

In March 2012, King granted the water authority permission to pump up to 84,000 acre-feet of groundwater a year from the four rural counties. An acre-foot is the volume of water needed to cover an acre of land with water 1 foot deep - about 326,000 gallons.

Opponents of the pumping then filed a new round of legal challenges to King’s ruling in state court, leading to the decision in December by Estes.

___

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide