Groups to fight Las Vegas water permits

CARSON CITY - A ruling that granted Southern Nevada Water Authority approval to pump billions of gallons of water from rural areas along the Nevada-Utah line will head back to court after appeals were filed by environmental groups, local governments, Indian tribes, ranchers and others.

The legal challenges were filed Friday and Monday in Ely and Pioche over state Engineer Jason King's ruling in March granting the water authority permission to pump up to 84,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Spring, Dry Lake, Cave and Delamar valleys to supplement Las Vegas' limited supply from Lake Mead.

Under the ruling, water would be piped to Las Vegas through a 300-mile, multibillion-dollar project that has yet to be built and still requires permits from the U.S Bureau of Land Management.

"We appealed this decision because it would set a precedent that one big city and a few narrow business interests can trample over the economic and environmental future of many rural communities and huge areas of the country," said Susan Lynn, coordinator with Great Basin Water Network.

J.C. Davis of the water authority said the appeals were not unexpected but predicted the applications would be upheld by the courts.