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  May 21, 2015 — Las Vegas Water Grab Rejected by Nevada Supreme Court
     Read GBWN's News Release [2 Page PDF]

   About GBWN — The Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) protects the water resources of the Great Basin for current and future residents. GBWN is an all volunteer 501c3 Non-Government Organization (NGO). GBWN supports water conservation programs for urban and rural communities that address economic incentives for water smart-practices as opposed to building multi-million dollar water extraction projects. Read the latest GBWN Newsletter [May-2015] Water Gab Newsletter

FAQs — Read our 40 questions and answers about the Las Vegas Water Grab; learn about the Groundwater Development Project (GWDP) proposed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) as well as the ongoing drought and over-appropriation of the Colorado River system.

   Litigation — Southern Nevada Water Authority's plans to convey millions of gallons of groundwater from central and eastern Nevada to Las Vegas have generated a deluge of legal challenges at the state and federal level. Most recently, (May 2015), the Nevada Supreme Court upheald Judge Estes' district court decision in favor of GBWN and friends . At the federal level, GBWN's appeal of BLM's Record of Decision and Final EIS awaits action in federal district court in Las Vegas. Participating parties challenging the water decisions in court include Nevada and Utah local governments, Tribes, businesses, non-profit organizations (like GBWN) and a long list of citizens who have joined the fight: Read the legal Arguments.

   New Information & Documents [2015]

   GBWN Events

   In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; information about the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin.
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Brent Gardner-Smith / Aspen Journalism July 04, 2015 — Challenges to the Colorado River laid out at Ideas Fest ASPEN - Ranchers and farmers in western Colorado are incentivized to divert more water from the state’s streams and rivers than they need, an investigative reporter with ProPublica said at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week. Abrahm Lustgarten, whose series “Killing the Colorado” is now being published by the nonprofit news organization, said that Western water laws “have become so antiquated that they now actually undermine conservation. They actually incentivize people to waste their water and use it in inefficient ways.” — AspenJournalism.org
listen to Abrahm Lustgarten's presentation (20:45).

May / July 2015 —What You Need to Know About the Water Crisis in the West — Causes of, and potential solutions to the Water Crisis on the Colorado River — by Abrahm Lustgarten, David Sleight, Amanda Zamora and Lauren Kirchner, ProPublica, and John Grimwade, Special to ProPublica

July 03, 2015 — Summerlin’s popularity continues to grow despite valley’s dwindling water supply — You hear those snide remarks about Summerlin, about its unique “roundabout” road intersections, about the well-manicured, palm tree-lined streets, the upscale homes in gated communities, the parks, the jogging trails and so much more. Then it all filters into some imaginary or maybe envious reference to those “snooty” or “smug” inhabitants of Summerlin. But the stark reality is this: The 22,500 acres of land that sit at the edge of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, on the western rim of Las Vegas, form not only the most desirable master-planned community in the Southwest, they represent some of the most sought-after real estate by a growing percentage of home-seekers across America — RJ.com
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July 01, 2015 — Lake Mead watch: As the Colorado dries up, will tourism? — Before Lake Mead was filled in 1936, there was little water to be had in the desert ecosystems of western Arizona and southern Nevada. But that changed after the Colorado River was impounded behind the Hoover Dam, creating the nation’s largest reservoir. By the 1950s, when Bob Gripentog, 64, was growing up on the shores of Lake Mead, water seemed abundant. In less than 50 years, Las Vegas grew from 40,000 people to 2 million — many of whom came to play on the reservoir, where Gripentog’s family ran a marina — High Country News

Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue July 01, 2015 — In Drying Colorado River Basin, Indian Tribes Are Water Dealmakers — Mired in drought and torched by one of the hottest years ever measured, the seven states of the Colorado River Basin are acutely aware of how a desert can bully water supplies. They are not alone. In this cauldron of collaboration and competing interests is a collection of players who are just as significant for managing and responding to water scarcity but attract much less attention: the basin’s 29 federally recognized Indian tribes CircleOfBlue.org [Interactive Map
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June 28, 2015 — Nevada water leader blasts Arizonans' anti-California rhetoric — How good are Arizona's legal rights to the Colorado River "if Lake Mead is at dead pool!!!!" asks Patricia Mulroy, the former water boss for the Las Vegas area who has wielded enormous influence over the years over management of the Colorado River and over Las Vegas' growth, water use and conservation — Tucson.com

Photo -- AP June 28, 2015 — Lake Mead decline below 1,075 feet is symbolic — If New Year’s Day had happened last week, the Central Arizona Project would have suffered the first water shortage in its 35-year history. That’s because Lake Mead — where CAP water is stored at the Nevada border — dropped below 1,075 feet elevationlate Tuesday, and stayed that way off and on the rest of the week. That’s the level at which the federal government is legally required to declare a shortage on the Colorado River, curtailing deliveries to Arizona farmers including some in northern Pima County — Tucson.com
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June 25, 2015 — California’s Drought Is Part of a Much Bigger Water Crisis. Here’s What You Need to Know: — Propublica.org

  • Why do I keep hearing about the California drought, if it's the Colorado River that we're "killing"?
  • Just how bad is the drought in California right now?
  • What about a lot of rain? Couldn't that end the drought in California and across the West?
  • What do you mean by mismanagement?
  • Wait — don't we all have equal water rights?
  • So where is all this water going?
  • What is California doing to address its water problems? Is it working?
  • Will California cutbacks alleviate the larger Colorado River problem?
  • I don't live in California or the West, so why is this my problem?
  • [Print PDF]

A bathtub ring marks the high-water line on Nevada's Lake Mead, which is on the Colorado River, in 2013. June 25, 2015 — How A Historical Blunder Helped Create The Water Crisis In The West [Transcript - PDF] — This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. We've heard a lot in recent years about the drought and water shortages in the West driven, many believe, by climate change. Our guest today, environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten, says those shortages are as much the product of mismanagement of our water resources as anything happening in the weather — NPR [36.56 min]

June 25, 2015 — 9 sobering facts about California’s groundwater problem — With an alarmingly dry winter and California reservoirs dropping fast, groundwater increasingly is keeping the state hydrated. It now accounts for about 60 percent of California’s water supply. But unlike its rivers, lakes and reservoirs, the state does not consider groundwater part of the public good. It does not regulate groundwater like it does surface water. Landowners can pump as much water as they want — RevealNews.org

June 24, 2015 — Experts Name the Top 19 Solutions to the Global Freshwater Crisis — CircleOfBlue.org

June 24, 2015 — Western governors discuss water use changes — Some significant changes may be needed in the way water is used and protected across the West, according to a report issued Tuesday [24 Page PDF] as Nevada and adjoining states struggle with the impacts of protracted drought. The document, requested last year by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, was released at the outset of the annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association at Lake Tahoe — Reno Gazette Journal

Photo - USGS June 24, 2015 — ProPublica Investigates Colorado River Water Woes — PHOENIX - The investigative journalism group ProPublica has been taking an in-depth look at the water crisis in the West, in a series that is focused on the Colorado River. As part of the series Killing the Colorado, reporter Abrahm Lustgarten spent months interviewing people on all sides of the water-use debate, from farmers in Arizona to city leaders in Las Vegas. — ProPublica

Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic) June 24, 2015 — Lake Mead sinks to record low, risking 2016 water shortage — Lake Mead sunk to a record low Tuesday night by falling below the point that would trigger a water-supply shortage if the reservoir doesn't recover by January. Water managers expect the lake's elevation level to rebound enough to ward off a 2016 shortage thanks to a wetter-than-expected spring. But in the long run, as a Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman said, "we still need a lot more water." — USA Today

click to expand view June 23, 2015 — [Wyoming] Green River could boost industrial complex dream — Legislators and industrialists hoping to build an energy complex in southwest Wyoming could more easily divert and use Green River water under a bill U.S. Sen. John Barrasso advanced last week. Barrasso heard no objections from a Bureau of Reclamation official against a plan to finish armoring the upstream face of Fontenelle Dam on the Green River in Sweetwater County near LaBarge. The bill would allow Wyoming to increase the amount of water drained from the 20-mile long reservoir —wyofile.com

June 19, 2015 — The desalination conversation is getting downright salty — Top officials from the Southern Nevada Water Authority assure skeptics that, despite record drought throughout the West, steadily worsening conditions and rising demand, Southern Nevada has plenty of water for decades to come. Between conservation and reclamation, there’s no need to panic and start hand-wringing . . . Whatever drives your interest in a water future that includes desalination, there’s no shortage of opinions on the subject — John L. Smith, Las Vegas Review Jouranal
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June 17, 2015 — Drought, growth, complacency and the Review-Journal's water story — As a local journalist who’s covered water issues, I scratched my head while reading Jennifer Robison’s June 13 Review Journal story, “Water isn’t a worry when it comes to Las Vegas growth — Heidi Kyser, KNPR.org

June 17, 2015 — Lake Mead watch: six inches from the level that triggers cutbacks — Record rain across much of the West in May has provided Lake Mead with a much-needed boost – alleviating concerns about possible cutbacks in water deliveries from the nation's largest reservoir. But a month of rain does not solve Mead's falling water levels. For nearly two decades, the reservoir, which straddles the Arizona-Nevada border, has been shrinking due to prolonged drought and over-allocation — High Country News

June 17, 2015 — Many of the world's water basins are being depleted, studies find — More than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the world are being depleted faster than they are getting replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing just how much water is left in them, according to two new studies published Tuesday — LA Times

Bryan Schutmaat, special to ProPublica) June 17, 2015 — Use It or Lose It: Across the West, Exercising One’s Right to Waste Water — HIGH IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, snowmelt fills a stream that trickles down into Ohio Creek and then onward toward the Upper Gunnison River. From there, it tumbles through the chasms of the Black Canyon, joining the Colorado River, filling the giant Lake Powell reservoir, and, one day, flowing to Los Angeles. But before the water gets more than a few miles off the mountain, much of this stream is diverted into dirt ditches used by ranchers along the Ohio Creek Valley. Standing astride one of those ditches one day last fall, Bill Ketterhagen dug his boot soles against the concrete edge of a 5-foot-wide dam. He spun a steel wheel and opened a gate that allowed water to pour into his fields of hay crops — ProPublica.org

June 16, 2015 —[Opinion - Abby Johnson, resident of Carson City] Fresh Ideas: Public participation should be key in Drought Forum — The Governor’s Nevada Drought Forum is off to a disappointing start. At an April press conference, with parched and dusty Washoe Lake as a dramatic backdrop, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the formation of the Nevada Drought Forum, created by Executive Order. The eight-man committee consists of state government department heads, university system reps and the new boss of Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) — Nevada Appeal

June 16, 2015 — The Colorado River is not a water buffet. So why the 'first come, first serve' policy? — As water shortages grip California and the seven state Colorado River basin, many users feel no pain, while some face a complete curtailment. That’s because the water management system is not designed to be either efficient or equitable but consistent and predictable. And it is. — The Guardian.com

Michael Friberg, special to ProPublica June 16, 2015 — End of the Miracle Machines — Inside the Power Plant Fueling America’s Drought A COUPLE OF MILES outside the town of Page, three 775-foot-tall caramel-colored smokestacks tower like sentries on the edge of northern Arizona’s sprawling red sandstone wilderness. At their base, the Navajo Generating Station, the West’s largest power-generating facility, thrums ceaselessly, like a beating heart . . . The power generated enables a modern wonder. It drives a set of pumps 325 miles down the Colorado River that heave trillions of gallons of water out of the river and send it shooting over mountains and through canals — Propublica.org

June 15, 2015 — May showers bring better outlook for Colorado River, but no miracle — It wasn’t the “Miracle May” that some observers called it, but a month of downpours in Colorado and Utah did provide a significant boost to the outlook for the Colorado River. A terrible year became merely below average. 'Miracle' is probably a bit of an overstatement, but the unusually wet May did have a positive impact on water supply,” said Paul Miller, a senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City. Just a month ago, federal forecasters expected to see the Colorado at about 42 percent of its average flow. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s latest monthly forecast, unveiled Monday afternoon, has upped the projection to 70 percent of average for the river that fills Lake Mead and supplies 90 percent of the Las Vegas Valley’s drinking water — Las Vegas Review Journal
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The Lake Oroville reservoir in Northern California was at less than 25 percent capacity last month. June 15, 2015 — Beyond the Perfect Drought: California’s Real Water Crisis — The record-breaking drought in California is not chiefly the result of low precipitation. Three factors – rising temperatures, groundwater depletion, and a shrinking Colorado River – mean the most populous U.S. state will face decades of water shortages and must adapt — Environment 360 Yale
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June 14, 2015 — Nev. fails to create rules to deal with drought — CARSON CITY: Nevada could pay a price for not making any substantive changes to its water laws during the 2015 legislative session. The possibility of a special session for the Legislature was discussed at the first meeting of the Nevada Drought Forum, a panel created in April by executive order of Gov. Brian Sandoval and consisting of several state agency heads and other water authorities — LakeTahoeNews.net

June 14, 2015 — Israel Bringing Its Years Of Desalination Experience To California — Taking the salt out of seawater helped Israel move from the constant threat of drought to a plentiful supply of water, but Israel has learned that desalination is not the only answer — NPR

All 2015 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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