GBWN Press Release — May 21, 2020

Water Grab Coup De Grace

Baker, NV – Today the Great Basin Water Network issued the following statement after the Southern Nevada Water Authority Board’s voted to move the project into indefinite deferred status in its resource plan, revoking the remaining water rights applications filed in 1989 as a part of its Groundwater Development Project and its application for a 300-mile right of way with the BLM.

The news is the coup de grace for the 30-year-old, multi-billion-dollar water grab and highlights a major economic and environmental win for the state, its residents and its natural resources.

SNWA’s decision follows a March 9, 2020 order from Nevada District Court Judge Robert Estes that deemed the applications to pump water in Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys illegal under Nevada law, completing a string of seven consecutive legal victories against the State of Nevada and SNWA for GBWN.

The SNWA board’s actions go even further than the litigation by instructing the agency to revoke its remaining applications in Snake, Railroad, and Indian Springs Valleys.

The BLM Right of Way, which a federal judge ruled as non-compliant under the National Environmental Policy Act, was subject to a remand order in 2017.

SNWA, however, will maintain ownership of its multi-million-dollar ranching and farming operation that includes 900,000 acres of grazing allotments and around 60,000 afy of ground, surface, and supplemental water rights.

“Today’s vote is a victory for rural and urban Nevada. Vegas ratepayers will save billions of dollars, and the Great Basin’s aquifers will retain billions of gallons of water,” said Kyle Roerink, Executive Director of the Great Basin Water Network. “This decision is the product of immense sacrifice on behalf of rural communities, tribes, environmentalists and others – all of whom were told time and again that this day would never come. Furthermore, this action also reflects a changing mindset in Southern Nevada where conservation and Colorado River collaboration are the principal points of focus. SNWA’s board and General Manager Entsminger are now truly investing in a water future that is affordable, practical and ecological. We hope that remains for decades to come.”

“From the start we believed that all parts of the state and region should be able to survive and thrive,” said Abby Johnson, GBWN Board President. “The defeat of the water pipeline boondoggle is more than a huge victory for Great Basin Water Network and our allies. It's also a win for future generations of plant life, wildlife and human life in the Great Basin.”

Press Coverage
May 28, 2020 — OPINION: End of SNWA pipeline fight unifies us all  [By Kyle Roerink] — In the fight to stop the Las Vegas Pipeline there have been many strange alliances. There were farmers and ranchers working with big-city environmentalists, rural county governments mobilizing in lockstep with tribal officials, and faith groups working alongside scientists. But the chasm dividing the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the cohort of pipeline opponents was as expansive as the water grab itself. The original proposal from 1989 spanned across the Great Basin, demanded every unclaimed drop of water in the region, and cost astronomical sums. Shortly after his election to the Clark County Commission and appointment to the Southern Nevada Water Authority Board, Justin Jones and I spoke about the future prospects of the Las Vegas Pipeline. He didn’t mince words -- He wanted the pipeline dead. I was skeptical — [Print PDF]

May 25, 2020 — 0:13:12 The Las Vegas Water Grab is Dead — In 1989, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) began buying water rights in rural Nevada and developing a plan to export the groundwater via a 300 mile-long pipeline across public land for domestic and industrial use in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Last week, the SNWA Board of Directors voted to assign the project a status of “deferred,” effectively scrapping the plan The Sierra Nevada Ally

May 21, 2020 — Water authority board votes to withdraw remaining water right applications, permits for pipeline project — The Southern Nevada Water Authority board voted Thursday to withdraw its remaining permits and applications associated with its proposal to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas — a project criticized by environmentalists, ranchers, tribes and rural counties. The unanimous decision by the board, which is composed of local elected officials, marks an end to the water authority’s multi-decade effort to get approval for the controversial water project —

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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