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March 31, 2015

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Utah governor agonizing over Nevada’s water play


Rick Bowmer / AP

In this Thursday March 7, 2013, photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert makes remarks during a news conference, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is struggling over whether to let Las Vegas pump massive amounts of groundwater from the Nevada-Utah border.

Herbert is promising a decision within weeks. He told reporters on Thursday he was reluctant to sign an agreement with Nevada that took four years to negotiate. If he doesn't sign the deal, Herbert's lawyers say Las Vegas will grab a share of the groundwater anyway.

The water comes from an ice-age aquifer under Snake Valley, which straddles both states.

Herbert says he faces a tough decision and describes his thinking as changing from day to day. The Utah governor says he wishes Nevada would just drop a planned pipeline to "make my life a lot easier." Herbert says regardless of how he decides, he'll act to protect Utah's water rights.

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