Nevada Legislature adds interbasin water transfer requirements to Nevada's water law, thanks to the advocacy of knowledgeable water policy advocates
Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation and Development Act (Public Law 108-424)) facilitates pipeline corridor. Also requires agreement between Nevada and Utah on the division of shared groundwater, EIS and BARCASS carbonate aquifer study
First road tour of Eastern Nevada areas targeted by SNWA project
- Research into comparison between Nevada water grab and Owens Valley (Calif) initiated.
First water strategy meeting in Baker is held and the need is identified to establish a separate group to work on water importation projects.
- Pacific Institute study on water conservation in southern Nevada begins. The study (link below) was published on November 26, 2007 — Hidden Oasis: Water Conservation and Efficiency in Las Vegas.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping process is initated (first try); activists turn out hundreds to public meetings and generates thousands of comments.
- Senator Harry Reid (NV) dedicates Great Basin National Park (GBNP) Visitors Center.
Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) is founded.
- Nevada State Engineer (NSE) holds hearing on 1989 Spring Valley protests.
- Agreement by Souther Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), BLM, The National Park Service (NPS), the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Bureau of Intian Affaires (BIA) [without tribes' consent] is signed. The agreement stipulates withdrawal of federal protests of SNWA applications in Spring Valley for future monitoring and mitigation program of groundwater pumping impacts. (This was a secret process — the public and White Pine County, NV were excluded.)
- GBWN files due process lawsuit over NSE exclusion of protestant successors and new residents and lack of notification of protestants.
- BLM re-scopes Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) because project description changes. (more on EIS process)
- Road tour initiated in June to show people the areas in Lincoln and White Pine Counties affected by the water grab.
GBWN receives 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status.
- NSE rules in favor of SNWA, approving 80,000 Acre Feet (afa) of annual pumping in Spring Valley following 3 periods of testing and monitoring (GBWN did not appeal the Spring Valley ruling).
- Water Grabb receives expansion of media coverage nationally and internationally, and reports published by Defenders of Wildlife and The Pacific Institute are released
- Spotlight report reveals secret negotiations between Nevada and Utah officials on shared water agreement
- SNWA purchases ranches in Spring Valley Nevada ($78.9M).
New allies join GBWN, including the Nevada agricultural community, Center for Biological Diversity, and National Parks
Nevada Supreme Court unanimously rules in GBWN's favor in challenge to Spring Valley protest process .
- Utah Governor withdraws Utah negotiators from talks on water agreement after Supreme Court ruling.
- NSE reopens protest period.
- SNWA refiles all its applications.
- GBWN and residents protest applications again; 2,300 protests filed. NSE does not combine the protests; filing fees cost $56,000.
- GBWN and allies successfully defeat SNWA lobby efforts for a "legislative fix" to the Supreme Court ruling.
NSE rehears Spring and CDD (Cave, Dry Lake, & Delamar Valleys) , a grueling and costly six week process. Attorneys for GBWN, LDS ranch in Spring Valley, Goshute Tribe, 2 Utah counties, and Eskdale present protest cases.
- NSE receives over 23,000 public comments opposing the SNWA applications .In-person comments draw many tribal members
and last an entire day
- BLM releases Draft EIS for public comment, holds 9 hearings. GBWN turns out hundreds and gather 20,461 public comments.
- GBWN publishes EIS guide to encourage participation. EIS discloses $15.7 Billion project cost, and devastating impacts to an area larger than Vermont.
NSE approves a total of 84,000 afy from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake, & Delamar Valleys. Snake Valley applications remain in limbo pending bi-state negotiations
Nevada State Supreme Court Developments
- All parties’ briefing on the merits of SNWA’s and the Nevada State Engineer’s appeals was
completed during the fall, ending in December of 2014. Then, this past February, the Court issued
an order dismissing SNWA’s and the State Engineer’s original appeals on the ground that
Senior District Judge Estes’s 2013 ruling, which overturned the State Engineer’s approval of
SNWA’s water rights for the Project, was a remand order and not a properly appealable final
- It is important to recognize that the Supreme Court’s order dismissing the original appeals does
not truly dispose of the issues on appeal because both SNWA and the State Engineer resubmitted
all the same issues through Petitions for Writs of Mandamus that still are pending before
the Court. [More Information]
Time-line: Federal lawsuit against the Record of Decision (ROD) approving SNWA’s Pipeline Project.
New Federal Website - Colorado River Basin Insights using open data.
- Order on Stipulation Extending the Briefing Schedule in the Federal lawsuit against the Record of Decision (ROD) approving Southern Nevada's (SNWA’s) Pipeline Project — The schedule was extended at the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ). It extends the initial briefing deadlines by about 90 days — United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Southern Division
Drought in the Colorado River Basin
Insights using open data — Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin (Basin) has been experiencing a historic, extended drought that has impacted regional water supply and other resources, such as hydropower, recreation, and ecologic services. During this time, the Basin has experienced its lowest 16-year period of inflow in over 100 years of record keeping, and reservoir storage in the Colorado River system has declined from nearly full to about half of capacity. This application was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation in support of the Department of the Interior’s Open Water Data Initiative (OWDI). This visualization is part of a multi-agency effort to showcase the usefulness of open data (i.e., data provided in a discoverable, sharable, and machine-readable format) by exploring the current 16-year drought and its effects on the Colorado River Basin — U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation
- June 2, 2016 - GBWN and allies file reply brief in federal case challenging BLM's Record of Decision for the pipeline
- September 14, 2016 - NSE to hold status conference on remand for Spring, Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar Valleys
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