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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 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 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 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

July 31, 2017 — Opponents Make Case Against Eastern Nevada Water Pipeline — Las Vegas, NV – August 1, 2017 – On Monday, US District Court Judge Andrew Gordon heard arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block a proposal by the Southern Nevada Water Authority from building a 300-mile long pipeline to extract billions of gallons of groundwater from the eastern part of the state. Attorney Simeon Herskovits represented a broad coalition of local governments and nonprofit groups in Nevada and Utah, including White Pine County and the Great Basin Water Network. Along with tribal governments and other environmental advocates, they sued the federal government in early 2014. Plaintiffs argue the Bureau of Land Management’s assessment of the environmental impact of the project lacked enough detail and improperly delayed studying certain effects from the proposal. They ask that permission to build the project across public land be revoked until the analysis is revised — GBWN [More Coverage — Las Vegas Sun]

July 31, 2017 — Water authority’s pipeline project now in hands of federal judge — For the moment, the future of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s pipeline to eastern Nevada is in the hands of U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon. At the end of a two-hour hearing in Las Vegas on Monday, Gordon said he would issue a written ruling at a later date that could determine whether the authority is allowed to build its multibillion-dollar project across roughly 300 miles of federal land. At issue is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s 2013 decision to grant a right of way for the massive network of pumps and pipes the authority eventually plans to use to deliver more water to Las Vegas from as far away as Great Basin National Park — Las Vegas Review Journal [Print PDF]

July 30, 2017 — Eastern Nevada pipeline foes get day in Las Vegas court — Three years and two dozen motions later, a federal court in Las Vegas will hear a lawsuit Monday that seeks to block the Southern Nevada Water Authority from siphoning groundwater from a 300-mile swath of eastern Nevada. A coalition of local governments, tribes and environmental groups in Nevada and Utah sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior in February 2014 for granting a right of way to the massive network of pumps and pipes the water authority wants to build to deliver more water to Las Vegas — Las Vegas Review Journal [Print PDF] [More Coverage — AP] [Press Release — Center for Biological Diversity ]

July 27, 2017 — Denver to get more water from the Colorado River — In the West, water wars never really end — they just fade away, only to re-emerge during a drought, or when there’s a new proposal to build another dam or divert a river through a mountain range — hcn.org

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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