A coalition of Pahrump residents and business owners is appealing a state order banning new domestic groundwater wells in the community 60 miles west of Las Vegas.
The group, calling itself Pahrump Fair Water LLC, was formed Jan. 9 to challenge the order issued in December by State Engineer Jason King prohibiting new wells in the Pahrump Valley unless they are backed by existing water rights.
The Pahrump Valley Times reported that the new association, led by a pair of local real estate businesswomen, filed its appeal in Nye County’s Fifth District Court on Jan. 18.
According to the court document, the group represents landowners, real estate professionals, well-drilling companies and others “feeling aggrieved” by King’s action.
In his unprecedented order, King said the groundwater basin that supplies Nye County’s largest town is “severely over-appropriated” and cannot support new wells on top of existing water rights.
According to state estimates, approximately 20,000 acre-feet of water a year can be pumped sustainably from the ground beneath Pahrump, but more than 59,000 acre-feet of water rights have been issued in the valley.
That total does not include the more than 20,000 acre-feet of water that is allowed to be withdrawn annually from Pahrump’s roughly 11,000 existing domestic wells.
No other basin in Nevada has a higher concentration of such wells, Nevada’s top water regulator said.
The appeal comes after the Nye County Commission voted earlier this month not to challenge the order.