Please support AB387. Until we allow regulators to recognize groundwater and surface water connections, the state will continue to experience unacceptable harms to ecosystems and water rights users. We have more water on paper than we do in reality. This bill will ensure the state engineer can use sound science and due process to bring about sustainable solutions.
AB387 is a water conservation bill clarifying the Nevada State Engineer’s authority to manage groundwater based on the best available science and ensuring that senior water rights are protected against conflicts regardless of where the impacts occur.
AB387 protects senior water rights and the environment by reinforcing the State Engineer’s authority to manage conflict in hydrologically connected systems. Nevada is divided into 256 administratively-defined groundwater basins, and groundwater rights have been allocated on a basin-by-basin basis. However, the boundaries of these basins do not always correspond with the boundaries of groundwater aquifers. Frequently, aquifers span across multiple basins, creating scenarios where “conflict” occurs between water rights users. For instance, a junior groundwater rights holder in one basin pumping in a way that impacts a senior surface water rights holder in another basin.
AB387 clarifies the State Engineer’s authority to manage conflict regardless of where the conflict occurs – even if a conflict occurs across basin boundaries but in the same scientifically-delineated aquifer.
AB387 promotes science-based management by requiring the State Engineer to use the best available science in decision-making.
Senior water rights are the economic engine of rural Nevada. The backbone industries of rural Nevada need reliable access to their senior water rights to ensure continued economic productivity.
Protecting senior water rights protects the environment. Senior water rights almost always coincide with important environmental values such as springs, creeks, wetlands, sloughs, and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Groundwater-dependent ecosystems are the most important resource for biodiversity in the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts. Ensuring that senior water rights, including those held for the environment, are protected will ensure that groundwater-dependent ecosystems remain vibrant for future generations.