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SNWA admitting defeat on pipeline, but more work to be done

Baker, NV —Today, after more than 30 years of fighting to defeat SNWA’s ill-conceived Las Vegas Pipeline, the Great Basin Water Network responded to the news that the Southern Nevada Water Authority will not appeal litigation addressing water rights applications and corresponding 3M plans to the Nevada Supreme Court. The litigation was another flash point in the fate of the pipeline – the 300-mile, $15.5 billion project that would drain Eastern Nevada’s groundwater supply.

“Residents of the Great Basin breathed a great sigh of relief today after learning of SNWA’s decision,” said Kyle Roerink, Executive Director of the Great Basin Water Network. “Our attorneys, White Pine County officials, tribes, and front-line communities in Nevada and Utah have all said this project was illegal for more than three decades. Today’s news vindicates their long-held fierce opposition and years of fighting a David-vs-Goliath battle. But there is still hard work that must be done. SNWA must revoke both sets of its remaining water rights applications in places like Snake Valley and withdraw its application for the pipeline’s right of way with the BLM. We have been in discussion with the SNWA over these matters and look forward to seeing what comes next. The proof of SNWA’s intent will show itself in the coming months when they take the proper next steps to nullify all of the water grab applications.”

Judge Estes’ recent ruling completed an unbroken line of seven victories that opponents of SNWA’s Pipeline Project have won over SNWA in both state and federal court going back to 2009,” said Simeon Herskovits of Advocates for Community and Environment, lead attorney for the broad coalition of pipeline opponents. “In his March 9 Decision Judge Estes authoritatively dismantled all of SNWA’s legal arguments and their persistent misrepresentations of the facts. Over the years, water officials throughout Nevada and the West have dismissed any chance of us succeeding in this long fight and others have pleaded with us to accept the inevitability of this ill-conceived project. Instead, we have completely defeated SNWA in court. The water they’ve wanted to grab since 1989 never was there for the taking and never will be.”

Press Coverage

April 16, 2020 — Water authority shelves controversial Las Vegas pipeline project — the Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a portion of its water rights. The decision means the water agency is shelving a development project that has long inflamed tensions between rural and urban Nevada, from the Legislature to the courts, and eclipsed nearly all other water issues in the state. The water authority first applied for the water rights in 1989, worried about water scarcity on the Colorado River and a growing population —
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The Great Basin Water Network was formed to protect the water resources of the Great Basin for current and future residents – human, animal and plant.

Kyle Roerink
Executive Director
Great Basin Water Network

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