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The Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) protects the water resources of the Great Basin for current and future residents. Read our 40 questions and answers about the Las Vegas Water Grab Las Vegas Water Grab Rejected by Nevada Supreme Court Press Releases, GWBN Newsletters & Other Documents

In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; press stories also cover the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin. [Note: Stories open in new browser window]

August 31, 2017 — Judge orders more studies for water grab — It is not too often a judge’s ruling is greeted by all sides as a victory, but that is what happened after federal Judge Andrew Gordon issued a 39-page opinion in the fight over the Clark County water agency’s bid to tap groundwater beneath White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties. Judge Gordon said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could grant right-of-way for a 300-mile network of pipelines across public land, but first it has to address plans to mitigate the potential loss of wildlife habitat due to a draw down of the water table [Print PDF]

August 23, 2017 — Judge sends Las Vegas water pipeline plan back to feds for a fix — A federal judge tapped the brakes Thursday but didn't stop a proposal for a massive and expensive water pipeline to draw underground water from rural valleys along Nevada's eastern edge to supply the growing Las Vegas metropolitan area. The federal Bureau of Land Management needs to take another look at possible environmental effects of the Southern Nevada Water Authority project and identify what can be done about them, U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon said — AP
  [Read the judges ruling -- 39 page PDF]
  [More coverage — Las Vegas Review Journal]
  [Read the Press Release by the The Center for Biological Diversity]

August 23, 2017 — Feds ask state to prove it can pay for proposed Lake Powell Pipeline — State officials and other proponents of the Lake Powell pipeline may have just two months to convince federal regulators that their project is backed by a robust plan to pay off more than $1 billion in costs. — sltrib.com [More info on this website]

August 21, 2017 — How a California groundwater case could affect Nevada and the West — Earlier this month, 10 states urged the Supreme Court to hear a low-profile case that started in California’s Coachella Valley but could have significant ramifications for water management in Nevada and the West. Writing for the states, Attorney General Adam Laxalt described a lower court’s decision as “literally a watershed opinion washing away the authority and control that states have traditionally exercised over groundwater resources.” — thenevadaindependent.com  [Related story — HCN.com]

August 17, 2017 — Water authority to fund conservation work in Mexico — The Southern Nevada Water Authority plans to spend up to $7.5 million in Mexico over the next 10 years in exchange for more Colorado River water. Authority board members unanimously approved the payments Thursday as they gave their blessing to a sweeping water-sharing agreement the U.S. and Mexico are expected to sign next month — reviewjournal.com

August 16, 2017 — Las Vegas 2100 — Life seems as if it’s becoming a dystopian sci-fi or apocalyptic novel, with headlines like “Warming Climate Pushing Desperate India Farmers to Suicide” and “Elon Musk Publishes Plans for Colonizing Mars.” Luckily, cannibalism hasn’t become a mainstream diet fad yet, but according to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, the future is bleak. In a BBC documentary coming out this year, Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth, Hawking predicts that humans will need to colonize another planet within the next 100 years or face extinction. Billionaire businessman Musk shares the same sentiment, although with slightly more optimism — vegasseven.com

August 15, 2017 — Lake Mead skirts shortage for another year — The snow has melted and the forecast is in: Lake Mead is safe from shortage for another year. According to projections released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the reservoir east of Las Vegas will have enough water in it on Jan. 1 to stave off a first-ever federal shortage declaration — and the mandatory water cuts for Nevada and Arizona that would come with it — reviewjournal.com

August 15, 2017 — Snowy year in the Rockies helps Southwest avoid Colorado River water shortage for at least a year — A snowy winter in the Rocky Mountains helped Colorado River water users escape a shortage for the next year and likely for at least two more, federal water managers project, though a hot spring made the escape a narrow one — azcentral.com

August 14, 2017 — Farmers Propose Novel Solution to Fight Over Groundwater in Nevada — Diamond Valley in rural Nevada has a critically overdrafted aquifer that supports its farming economy. Some irrigators want to shift to a market-based system to limit pumping, but the community is divided — newsdeeply.com

August 11, 2017 — Rural groundwater grab gets federal court hearing — If whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting, this fight has gone on for 28 years and the combatants are still flailing madly. In 1989 the agency that is now the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) filed paperwork with the state engineer to lay claim to 589,000 acre-feet of groundwater in central Nevada — primarily White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties — that would be tapped with a 300-mile, $1.5 billion pipeline from near Ely to Las Vegas — elynews.com

August 11, 2017 — U.S. and Mexico finalizing Colorado River deal — The U.S. and Mexican governments may be sharply at odds on President Donald Trump's plan for a border wall, but when it comes to water – and the potential for a major shortage along the Colorado River – the two sides seem to be on the same page — newsdeeply.com

August 10, 2017 — BBWD still seeking feedback on 10-year plan — LAUGHLIN – Customers of the Big Bend Water District are facing their first rate increase in more than a decade. Just how much of an increase remains to be seen. Representatives of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which operates Laughlin's BBWD, met with the local district's citizen advisory committee on Tuesday to discuss rate scenarios and generate feedback — mohavedailynews.com

August 09, 2017 — City-Wide Study Shows How Much Water Urban Landscaping Really Uses — University of Utah scientists have conducted the first study to document landscape water use on a city-wide scale. Among other findings, trees are shown to be an excellent water-saving tool in grassy landscapes —mercury.postlight.com

August 08, 2017 — States Ask High Court to Define ‘Fractured’ Groundwater Rights — CARSON CITY, Nev. (CN) – Ten states on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify a recent Ninth Circuit ruling they say essentially wiped out state groundwater rights in favor of federal oversight. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt led the states’ coalition in filing a 25-page friend-of-the-court brief with the nation’s high court, challenging what Laxalt calls a “federal overreach on groundwater rights” — courthousenews.com

Spring-Summer 2017 — Policy Debates over the Southern Nevada Water Authority Groundwater Development Project: Beneficial Uses of Water in a Desert — By Lisa W. Welsh, Joanna Endter-Wada, Journal of the Southwest, Volume 59, Numbers 1-2, Spring-Summer 2017, — Published by The Southwest Center, University of Arizona — PDF, 37 Pages.  For additional information about this article Access provided by Utah State University Libraries (18 Jul 2017 20:43 GMT) https://doi.org/10.1353/jsw.2017.0014

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    What this study documents. . . Judge Estes ruled that the state engineer does have a responsibility to carefully consider how an assigned use will affect the collective, existing uses of that water in rural Nevada, including ecological uses. In addition, Judge Estes’s ruling showed that allocating water should require more thought than simply assigning the available water to existing users and water rights applicants.

    Instead, allocating water necessitates a holistic view of the hydrologic system and a true understanding of how water uses interact within the system. Judge Estes’s ruling demonstrates that water allocation decision makers can and should take the time needed to clearly understand and evaluate the long-term impacts of a project, particularly one involving water rights granted in perpetuity

    . . . Battles over water can be long-standing and arduous. This case study of rural Nevada’s groundwater is no exception; SNWA has maintained water rights applications for future development while protestants [GBWN] have been fighting these plans for over 25 years. Simeon Herskovits, attorney for the Great Basin Water Network [gbwn], explained the significance of Judge Estes’s ruling: “It could fundamentally change the way regulators review [SNWA’s] controversial pipeline.”

    While Judge Estes’s decision validated many of the arguments that protestants made against SNWA’s project, the protestants are aware that Nevada water law is vague when it comes to recognizing environmental uses of water.

All 2017 News Stories

All 2016 News Stories


   GBWN Video Files Baker Family Ranches Video The Consequences...Transporting Snake Valley Water to Satisfy a Thirsty Las Vegas: An Eastern Nevada Rancher's Story is a virtual water tour of Snake Valley. Baker Family Ranches has produced the DVD to help people understand that there is not enough water in Snake Valley to justify the Southern


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