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Water Grab Opponents Declare Victory
Nevada State Engineer Rejects SNWA’s Water Applications

AUGUST 17, 2018

Contact: Great Basin Water Network – Howard Watts 702-523-3867 and/or White Pine County – Gary Perea 775-761-6128

Ely, Nevada: A broad coalition of Nevadans committed to protecting the state’s water resources are declaring victory in their opposition to the SNWA groundwater pipeline. They applaud a ruling by the Nevada State Engineer denying all water rights applications for the project.

Great Basin Water Network and White Pine County say the decision is essentially a death-knell for the roughly 300-mile pipeline proposal. These groups oppose SNWA’s proposed groundwater export and pipeline project because it would cause catastrophic long term environmental harm to some of Nevada’s most pristine and treasured areas, and because it would cause long-term economic devastation to rural communities throughout eastern Nevada. Following favorable decisions in Nevada’s District and Supreme Courts, it appears that the Nevada State Engineer agrees.

“With the denial of these applications by the State Engineer, this ill-conceived multibillion dollar boondoggle is now dead in the water,” said Abigail Johnson of the Great Basin Water Network. “After a string of court victories, we have a decision showing that the water is not available for this project without hurting the area’s existing water rights and environment.”

“We welcome the State Engineer’s denial of SNWA’s applications, which clearly was required by Nevada water law, as the State District Court and Supreme Court have explained,” said the coalition’s attorney, Simeon Herskovits of Advocates for Community and Environment. “We do, however, disagree with the State Engineer’s gratuitous finding that SNWA’s monitoring, management and mitigation (or 3M) plan is adequate. Their slightly elaborated 3M plan remains as much of a sham as it always has been,” Herskovits added.

“White Pine County residents and rural Nevadans are glad that the limits of available groundwater resources have been acknowledged,” declared White Pine County Commissioner Gary Perea. “The denial of SNWA’s applications finally recognizes that, if allowed, the project would take more water than the system could bear, hurting existing water rights and the economies that depend on them.”

“We will continue to stand up and ensure that the State Engineer and SNWA follow the law, and protect our water rights and resources from overpumping and irreversible harm,” agreed another White Pine County Commissioner, Carol McKenzie, from Lund.

Kena Gloeckner, whose family has been ranching in Lincoln County’s Dry Lake Valley – a target of the project – for many generations, said “Not only would this groundwater project have jeopardized our family’s 150-year-old legacy and livelihood, but it would have also ended a way of life valued by local residents. Ranchers and farmers on the ground have long known that the aquifers in these rural valleys are interconnected and are at or near their limits – there is simply nowhere near the amount of water that SNWA wanted to take.”

Great Basin Water Network works to protect the region’s water resources for current and future residents – human, animal, and plant. They are a broad coalition including ranchers, farmers, local and tribal governments, conservationists, businesspeople, and urban and rural residents across the political spectrum.

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Read the State Engineers Decision — 111 Pages

GBWN Update
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — September 17, 2018

Press News

September 19, 2018 — Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan — The appeals are piling up over a recent state decision blocking the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to pipe groundwater from Eastern Nevada. Four days after water authority board members approved a court challenge of State Engineer Jason King’s Aug. 17 ruling, opponents of the controversial pipeline project launched an appeal of their own targeting a specific part of last month’s decision — Las Vegas Review Journal

September 18, 2018 — Utah groups want to tank Nevada's groundwater pumping plan — SALT LAKE CITY — A broad coalition of groups say a judge should tank a mitigation and monitoring plan associated with Nevada's efforts to pump groundwater in the arid desert next to Utah. A petition, led by Nevada's White Pine County and the Great Basin Water Network, was filed Monday in Nevada's 7th District Court objecting to the "3M" plan approved in State Engineer Jason King's August ruling —

September 18, 2018 — Pipeline opponents to SNWA: See you in court — Less than a week after the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) board voted unanimouslyto appeal a recent ruling by the state engineer that denied the authority water rights for its groundwater pumping and pipeline project, opponents are taking the matter back to court. Monday, a broad coalition of 59 organizations and individuals opposed to the SNWA project filed a petition for judicial review in Nevada’s Seventh Judicial District Court in Ely. Nevada State Engineer Jason King previously denied SNWA’s water rights applications before appealing his own decision, claiming his office was prevented from granting the water authority’s permits due to constraints by previous court requirements – [More Informtion]

September 13, 2018 — I-Team: SNWA head back to court to keep multi-billion dollar water siphoning project alive — LAS VEGAS - Southern Nevada water agencies are headed back to court to fight to keep a multi-billion dollar water project alive. During a special meeting Thursday, Southern Nevada Water Authority board members voted to appeal a recent decision by the state engineer which temporarily slammed the door on a controversial plan to siphon groundwater from rural Nevada — [More Coverage —] [Read/Download — SNWA's Petition For Judicial Review]

September 06, 2018 — Grab is dead in the water — A recent crucial regulatory decision favored the good guys in Nevada’s interminable water wars. State Engineer Jason King ruled against the plan by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to import groundwater through a 300-mile pipeline in Eastern Nevada to feed the rapacious thirst of Las Vegas. King’s decision to deny all water rights applications for the water grab was hailed as a tremendous victory for the odd folks coalition of activists, a coalition featuring progressive conservationists, conservative ranchers and farmers, tribal leaders and their members, rural county commissioners and people of all political stripes who recreate in the pristine desert and range of Eastern Nevada, who have worked since 1989 to thwart the water thieves —

August 29, 2018 — [Editorial — Nevada Appeal] Abby Johnson: Las Vegas Water Grab not dead yet — What about the water? Today, one in five of Nevada's 256 water basins are overappropriated, meaning that there are more water rights approved than there is water available. Earlier this month, opponents of the Southern Nevada groundwater development project — known as the Las Vegas Water Grab — celebrated an unprecedented victory. After 12 years of hearings and legal appeals, the State Engineer finally denied Southern Nevada Water Authority's water applications in four key valleys in eastern Nevada . . . The Nevada Appeal   Print PDF

August 24, 2018 — [Editorial — BY THOMAS MITCHELL] We suggest an ally in the fight against the water grab — The three-decade legal wrangle over whether Clark County will ever be allowed to tap groundwater from White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties has reached another milestone, but may be far from over. Jason King, state engineer for the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR), issued a 111-page ruling denying the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) request for water permits . . . We suggest that the opponents seek to form a partnership in their fight against this water grab with another party who would be damaged by this project — the SNWA’s customers —
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August 24, 2018 —
Coalition declares victory over pipeline proposal — A broad coalition of Nevadans committed to protecting the state’s water resources are declaring victory in their opposition to the SNWA groundwater pipeline. They applaud a ruling by the Nevada State Engineer denying all water rights applications for the project —

Nevada State Engineer Jason King August 23, 2018 — The Las Vegas pipeline is dead. The Las Vegas pipeline is alive — Even when the Las Vegas pipeline is dead, the Las Vegas pipeline is alive. On Friday last week, Nevada’s top water regulator dropped a 111-page ruling widely interpreted as the final blow to Las Vegas’ vexed campaign to pump groundwater from Eastern Nevada and pipe it to the state’s growing urban center — the country’s driest city — about 250 miles away. The ruling denied the Southern Nevada Water Authority the right to pump billions of gallons of water from rural Nevada aquifers, transport it down south and connect it to Las Vegas taps —

Howard Watts April 17, 2018— Conservationists hail ruling against “water grab” — A ruling Friday could mark the end of a three-decade fight over the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) plan to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada aquifers to Las Vegas, according to critics of the “water grab.” But the state engineer promised that water permit denials issued by the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) Friday will be appealed. “In my opinion, it is a death knell for the proposed project,” said Howard Watts, a spokesman for the Great Basin Water Network. “I think that it is unlikely that SNWA will prevail in an appeal,” said Watts, a Las Vegas Democrat who is running for the Nevada Assembly —

August 17, 2018 — Nevada Water Chief Rejects Big Vegas Pipeline Pumping Plan — LAS VEGAS — Long-fought plans for Las Vegas to pump and pipe drinking water from arid valleys just west of the Utah state line were dealt a severe blow Friday with a ruling from Nevada's top state water official — By The Associated Press

August 17, 2018 — I-Team: State engineer rules against SNWA rural water pipeline —

August 17, 2018 — Nevada's top water regulator denies SNWA permits, will appeal the methodology of own decision — Ruling in a closely-watched case, Nevada’s top water regulator denied the Southern Nevada Water Authority permits for a controversial project to pump groundwater 250 miles from Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas Friday afternoon. But the decision is far from finalized and will likely go before a judge —

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