Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 | 10:25 a.m.
CARSON CITY — Initial briefs are scheduled to be filed Jan. 31 in lawsuits attempting to block the Southern Nevada Water Authority from building a pipeline to siphon water from Northern Nevada to Las Vegas.
The lawsuits seek to overturn a decision by state Engineer Jason King to allow pumping 83,988 acre feet of water a year from four rural Nevada valleys.
The Bureau of Land Management last week permitted the Water Authority to build the $15 million proposed pipeline on federal lands.
Scott Huntley, a spokesman for the authority, said a vote to start construction won’t be taken until conditions on the Colorado River dictate it. He said earlier that 90 percent of Southern Nevada’s water supply comes from the river, which is subject to drought.
The state Attorney General’s Office, which is defending the decision to allow the pipeline, says oral arguments in the lawsuits are scheduled for June 13-14 in District Court in Ely.
The suits say the pipeline will interfere with existing water rights and damage the environment.