Businessman seeks approval to pump water to project

CARSON CITY -- Reno businessman and power broker Harvey Whittemore urged the state water engineer on Monday to approve his plans to pump rural Nevada water to a $30 billion development he's building about 50 miles north of Las Vegas.

Although critics questioned whether Lake Valley would dry up when groundwater is pumped from there more than 100 miles south to Whittemore's Coyote Springs project, Whittemore said he's being "extraordinarily conservative" to ensure that doesn't happen.

The federal government, which controls most of the land in Lake Valley, already has dropped its opposition to Whittemore's plan to send up to 12,000 acre-feet of water a year to Coyote Springs. That occurred after Whittemore agreed to an elaborate monitoring plan to ensure that BLM resources in the valley wouldn't be harmed.