Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Water Authority appeals decision blocking pipeline

CARSON CITY — The state and the Southern Nevada Water Authority are appealing a decision that would block piping 84,000 acre feet of water from rural Nevada to Las Vegas.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Cassandra Jones, representing the state, said today a notice of appeal was filed Friday with the Nevada Supreme Court.

Senior District Judge Robert Estes ruled in December that state Engineer Jason King should recalculate how much water is available in each of the four basins in White Pine and Lincoln counties. An acre foot of water is 325,851 gallons.

Estes said King must further evaluate if there is a conflict with existing water rights and the impact on the environment.

This continues the legal battle started in 1989, when the Las Vegas Valley Water District applied to the state to pump water from Cave Valley, Dry Lake, Delamar Valley and Spring Valley.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority succeeded the Water District and maintains it needs the water to serve the needs of a growing population.

The state engineer’s office first made a decision allowing water to be piped to Southern Nevada.

But the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the decision.

King, who became state engineer, held hearings in Ely from September to November 2011 and issued his decision in 2012. Environmental groups, ranchers, local governments and residents protested the King ruling and then filed suit.

Estes, in his Dec. 10, 2013, ruling, said the decision of the state engineer did not include a comprehensive plan to mitigate any damage that might occur from the pumping. He sent the case back to King, but now it is going to the Supreme Court for another round of legal briefs and a hearing.

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