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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 [August / May 2015]

  • Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study — Bureau of Reclamation [Press Release - 2 Page PDF]
  • TTROUBLED WATERS: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water — Corporate Accountability International
  • Top 10 Myths about Desalination — By Genevieve D. Minter and Mark Bird
  • USGS Report — Hydrology Groundwater Movement, Snake Valley
  • Nevada State Engineer — Report to the Public Lands Committee on Listening Sessions
  • Pacific Institute — Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines: Towards a Common Approach to Report Water Issues

   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.
[Note: Stories open in new browser window]

Simeon Herskovits May 23, 2015 — Supreme Court won’t wade into fight over Las Vegas water pipeline — For the second time this year, the Nevada Supreme Court has declined to dip its toe into a legal dispute over controversial plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from across eastern Nevada. In an unpublished order issued Thursday, the court said it would not review several key technical questions raised by a 2013 ruling by Senior District Judge Robert Estes that effectively stripped the Southern Nevada Water Authority of water rights for its proposed pipeline. Estes ruled that the state’s chief water regulator failed to adequately support a decision two years earlier to allow the authority to sink its wells in four rural valleys in Lincoln and White Pine counties . . . Opponents of the pipeline said the Supreme Court decision is a victory and a vindication. Environmental attorney Simeon Herskovits, who has been fighting the groundwater project in court for years, called it “a devastating defeat for SNWA and the state engineer and their efforts to circumvent sound science.” — RJ.com

May 22, 2015 — Nevada Supreme Court won't revisit Vegas water pipeline — RENO, Nev. The Nevada Supreme Court is sticking to an earlier decision that at least temporarily blocks water interests in Las Vegas from pumping new supplies from the high desert near the Nevada-Utah line. In brief orders Thursday, the high court refused to revisit the earlier pipeline ruling at the request of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Nevada state water engineer — AP
     Read GBWN's News Release [2 Page PDF]
      Read the Court decisions

May 21, 2015 — New Alarms Sounded About Lake Mead Water Levels — KNPR Radio Interview, Pat Mulroy, former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority [8.36 min] . . . Mulroy told KNPR's State of Nevada that Nevada put an aggressive plan into place in 2003 in anticipation of an extended drought. "We've already conserved it. That was the plan going in that we not go into a crisis mode that we not have to go to Draconian conservation measures," Mulroy said. — KNPR

John Locher / The Associated Press 2014 May 20, 2015 — Lake Mead’s low levels could trigger federal shortage by 2017 — Lake Mead is expected to shrink low enough by January 2017 to trigger a first-ever federal shortage declaration on the Colorado River, according to a bleak new projection from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

In its monthly forecast issued this week, the bureau predicts the reservoir east of Las Vegas could start 2017 as much as 15 feet below the shortage line of 1,075 feet above sea level. Only a month ago, forecasters expected the Colorado River to narrowly avoid a shortage in both 2016 and 2017 — RJ.com

May 20, 2015 — Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought — The drought has worked a miracle in the Owens Valley, as environmental activists and ranchers have buried decades of enmity to forge a plan to save ranch land — at the expense of hard-fought environmental protections — LA Times

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN L. FRANK May 20, 2015 — Where the River Runs Dry — Our pilot, David Kunkel, asked me to retrieve his oxygen bottle from under my seat, and when I handed it to him he gripped the plastic breathing tube with his teeth and opened the valve. We had taken off from Boulder that morning, and were flying over Rocky Mountain National Park, about thirty miles to the northwest. We were in a Maule M-7, a single-engine “backcountry” plane, and Kunkel was navigating with the help of an iPad Mini, which was resting on his legs — The New Yorker [View Colorado Basin Map]

May 19, 2015 — DWP takes first step toward possible rate increases — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power took a first step Tuesday toward possible rate increases as it tries to address aging infrastructure that has resulted in spectacular water pipe breaks and other problems. The Board of Water and Power Commissioners ordered up a plan examining how the nation's largest municipal utility can generate millions of dollars in new revenue — LA Times

May 19, 2015 —Clark County population hits record as water concerns persist — The population in Clark County hit the record-high 2 million mark last year, according to an annual report released Tuesday about the region's economy. . . . The boom in growth comes with its own challenges, said Jeremy Aguero, a principal analyst at Applied Analysis, which assembles the report . . . Aguero said there are [also] concerns about the water resources in the region — Fox5Vegas.com

AP Photo/John Locher) May 19, 2015 — Feds project Lake Mead below drought trigger point in 2017 — LAS VEGAS — Federal water managers released a report Monday projecting that Lake Mead's water levels will fall below a point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada. The effects could be serious.

Arizona's allocation of Colorado River water could be cut 11.4 percent, or by an amount normally used by more than 600,000 homes. Nevada's share could be reduced 4.3 percent. Think 26,000 homes — AP

May 18, 2015 — [Tucson] Colorado River report poses tough questions about future — It’s not clear how much more water people in Tucson and other cities can conserve to bail out the drought-stricken Colorado River. At some point, we’ll hit a wall at which more conservation won’t be possible. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the region to limit the growth that threatens to outrun the water savings achieved by conservation — Tucson.com

May 17, 2015 —Disappearing Lake Powell underlines drought crisis facing Colorado river — As water levels plummet to 45% in America’s second-largest reservoir, new islands appear – and fears grow for a waterway that serves 40 million people — The Guardian.com

May 16, 2015 — Slideshow — Water level in lake mead largest reservoir in the us drops 150 feet in 14 years — Yahoe News

May 14, 2015 — L.A. getting no Owens Valley runoff for first time since 1913 — For the first time since 1913 – when Department of Water and Power chief architect William Mulholland opened the waterway with the words, "There it is. Take it!" – the 233–mile Los Angeles Aqueduct has stopped carrying Owens Valley runoff to Los Angeles. As severe drought continues to grip California, the DWP confirmed Thursday that it had dammed the aqueduct at Owens Lake in order to conserve meager Eastern Sierra snow runoff — LA Times

May 14, 2015 — Lawsuit: water district fired workers who were too old, knew too much — For the second time this year, the valley’s largest water utility is being sued by former employees who claim they were forced off the job in part to cover up mistakes and wrongdoing that cost ratepayers millions of dollars. The latest civil suit, filed April 30 in Clark County District Court, involves 16 people who accuse the Las Vegas Valley Water District of retaliation, discrimination and breach of contract among other claims — RJ.com

May 14, 2015 — Colorado's rain isn't helping Southwest reservoirs — AP

May 14, 2015 — California at Low Water – a Photo Gallery — kqed.org

May 12, 2015 — How California’s New Environmental Regulations On Desalination Affect Carlsbad’s Plant — As the Carlsbad desalination plant gets ready to go online later this year, there are 15 proposed desalination plants currently being evaluated by California water officials, according to media reports Kpbs.org

Mark Henle / The Arizona Republic 2014 May 12, 2015 — Report: No 'silver bullet' for Colorado River's problems — While cities and farms across the Colorado River basin are likely to conserve much more water over the coming decades, there's no “silver bullet” solution for the river's major water problems, according to a new federal report. A great deal of progress has already been made across the basin in making urban and agricultural water use more efficient in recent decades, said the report, released Tuesday and produced by working groups organized by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation — Arizona Daily Star

AP May 11, 2015 — Colorado River water shortage looms [If supply cuts occur, Southern California would lose out] — California’s drought emergency woes have worsened, with a shortage on the Colorado River next year becoming increasingly likely. Odds of a shortage rose from 33 percent to 50 percent from April 1 to May 1, Metropolitan Water District, Southern California’s largest water wholesaler, said Monday. Also Monday, a Metropolitan committee also unsuccessfully considered a proposal to spend an extra $150 million on water conservation projects, such as paying to replace grass with low water-use landscaping — utSanDiego.com

AP May 10, 2015 — Arizona prepares to restrict water use for farming in 2016 — With Lake Mead at record lows, Arizona is preparing to implement water rationing plans that have been in place in since the 1990s — the largest cuts will impact farming in the state. According to Slate magazine, Lake Mead was at 1,080 feet above sea level last week, which marks the first time the lake has been that low “since the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.” — breitbart.com

May 10, 2015 — Drought Transcends State Lines as U.S. West Turns Ever-More Arid The record drought plaguing California isn’t limited by lines on a map. Arid conditions caused by dwindling rainfall and snowpack are stretching across the West — Bloomberg

May 08, 2015 — [Editorial] Utah lacks good numbers on water needs — For years, conservation groups and good government activists have questioned the numbers used by the Utah Division of Natural Resources and others to project the need for some $33 billion in environmentally disruptive projects to meet the water demands of a rapidly growing state population — Sltrib.com

May 07, 2015 — Israel to California: Here's how to save water — YATIR FOREST, Israel - As Californians struggle with an ever-worsening water shortage caused by a historic drought, they might look east for a solution - to the Middle East — CentralOhio.com

May 06, 2015 — Water Pricing in Two Thirsty Cities: In One, Guzzlers Pay More, and Use Less — FRESNO, Calif. — When residents of this parched California city opened their water bills for April, they got what Mayor Ashley Swearengin called “a shock to the system.” The city had imposed a long-delayed, modest rate increase — less than the cost of one medium latte from Starbucks for the typical household, and still leaving the price of water in Fresno among the lowest across the entire Western United States. But it was more than enough to risk what the mayor bluntly admits could be political suicide — NyTimes.com

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES May 05, 2015 — How Satellites Can Monitor California’s Underground Water — CALIFORNIA IS RUNNING on groundwater right now. As the state has cut down on surface water deliveries from rivers and reservoirs, farmers and municipal water suppliers have reacted by sucking more and more out of Madre Earth. The state’s land, in response, is sinking lower and lower, day by day, year by year In times of crisis, turning to groundwater is understandable (it may even be unavoidable). But—as it stares down its inevitably dessicated future—California is finally waking up to the need to monitor and protect these reserves. To do that, the state’s Department of Water Resources is turning to new techniques using satellite data which, by measuring changes in the ground above, can keep an eye on water levels below. Essentially, if the Golden State is going to weather this disaster, it will need some help from up high — Wired.com

May 05, 2015 — [Utah] Audit reveals flawed projections on Utah's water needs — SALT LAKE CITY — A legislative audit released Tuesday concludes state water managers have no real idea how much water is being used across Utah so the projection that developed supplies will be exhausted by 2040 is not reliable — DesertNews.com [Related Story, HCN]

May 04, 2015 — Water Pipeline Triggers Debate About Utah's Future — In a parched corner of the nation's second driest state, the Virgin River delivers life-giving water to wildlife, farms and increasing numbers of people. Ron Thompson sees a future when four times as many people could be living here in St. George, and they’ll need more water than the Virgin can provide. That’s why he wants the Lake Powell Pipeline — Kuer.org

May 04, 2015 — Drought’s Extremes Can Be Measured at Record-Low Lake Mead — LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Nev. — Gail Kaiser has spent much of her life here on Lake Mead, with its crystal blue water pouring into canyons and splintering off like blood vessels into coves and bays, forming the vast reservoir that stretches into two states. She was just a child when, in 1957, her father took over the marina that has stayed in her family’s hands ever since. The lake, which is part of the Colorado River system and feeds into the Hoover Dam, was designed to fluctuate like a giant bathtub — NyTimes.com

May 01, 2015 — California snowpack survey canceled: 'Drought is severe' — State water officials had planned to make the trek back to the Sierra Nevada to conduct their snowpack measurement Friday. But Thursday they announced they wouldn’t bother. For the second consecutive month, there won’t be any snow to measure. “This is just another piece of information in a series of increasingly dismal findings,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson. “It nails down that the drought is severe – maybe as severe as any in our history.” — LA Times

David McNew / Getty Images) May 01, 2015 — Amid drought, the West is no place for a lawn, as Nevada has learned — When Gov. Jerry Brown ordered that California rip up 50 million square feet of lawns to conserve water amid the West's deadening drought, the Golden State gasped. Meanwhile, the Silver State [Nevada] yawned. Desert denizens have already been there and done that — since 1999, in fact — LA Times

April 30, 2015 — Dead in the water, State lost years while drought worsened — Cloud seeding in a desert state may seem like a no-brainer. But six years ago, the Nevada Legislature effectively shut down the state’s program. Even at the time, it seemed shortsighted. When local officials learned of the decision, the Desert Research Institute—a scientific arm of the state—was already dismantling Sierra monitoring stations NewsReview.com

April 29, 2015 — Lake Mead water level falls to a landmark low, and is likely to get worse — For Western states enduring a debilitating drought, the news is bone-dry bad: Anemic Lake Mead has hit a historic low level. . . "The death of Lake Mead should be a wake-up call to people across the West that we need to boldly address this drought," said Howard Watts, a spokesman for the Great Basin Water Network, a nonprofit group composed of environmentalists, ranchers and Native Americans that seeks to preserve the health of the Colorado River system. "We've been slow to act, slow to react. Nobody knows when this drought is going to end. We need to become far more aggressive in areas of conservation to protect lake levels from falling even lower." — LA Times

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

   GBWN Events

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