Objections to water pumping dropped

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has won another major concession for its plan to tap groundwater across rural Nevada and pipe it to Las Vegas.

Under a deal inked Tuesday, federal officials have agreed to drop their protests of the project in Lincoln County in exchange for assurances that the proposed groundwater pumping won’t harm sensitive wildlife and fragile habitat in the area.

The authority is hoping to pump more than 11 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Cave, Delamar and Dry Lake valleys in central Lincoln County. When stretched through reuse, that’s enough water to supply more than 115,000 homes.

State Engineer Tracy Taylor will have final say over how much groundwater the authority should be allowed to pump from the three valleys, which lie in a north-south line bracketed by U.S. Highway 93 and state Route 318.

Taylor will convene a hearing in Carson City on Feb. 4 to review the authority’s applications. A ruling will follow sometime after the public comment period closes on Feb. 29.

Last spring, Taylor granted the authority permission to eventually pump nearly 20 billion gallons a year from Spring Valley in White Pine County, about 250 miles north of Las Vegas.

In September 2006, mere hours before the hearing on its Spring Valley applications, the authority reached an agreement with federal agencies similar to the one struck this week.

Authority spokesman J.C. Davis said more deals like this will be sought as Southern Nevada’s wholesale water supplier pushes ahead with its plans to build a massive well and pipeline network — at a cost of well over $2 billion — to supply growth in the Las Vegas Valley.

Outspoken pipeline opponent Bob Fulkerson was disheartened by the news.

“We’re profoundly disappointed that these federal agencies have decided to put politics over science,” said Fulkerson, who is executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

“They were under tremendous political pressure to roll over … and that’s what has happened.”

Federal officials don’t see it that way at all.

“We don’t view it as rolling over. The way I characterize it is working with the water authority outside the state engineer’s process,” said Bob Williams, field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada.

“This is our assurance upfront that if we see any impacts, immediate action will be taken.”

Williams said the protections are particularly important for the Pahranagat Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a water-filled valley that serves as prime nesting habitat for the endangered Southwest willow flycatcher. The refuge along U.S. Highway 93 in Lincoln County is one valley removed from the three watersheds being targeted by the water authority.

For its part, the authority agreed to fund the construction of four monitoring wells and eight new spring monitoring sites in the area.

Davis said those wells and monitoring sites will serve as an early warning system for the springs and seeps that could be impacted by the authority’s project.

The authority also has agreed to draft an operation plan before any pumping begins, to define specific mitigation measures and the conditions under which they would occur.

“Monitoring alone isn’t enough. You have to be willing to take preventative measures if the groundwater tables change as a result of your pumping,” Davis said.

That drew a skeptical response from Fulkerson, who said the agreement has “holes so big you can drive an 84-inch pipeline through them.”

If springs start to run dry, the water authority will simply blame it on something other than its groundwater pumping, he said.

But Davis said hydrology doesn’t work like that. If there are impacts from pumping, they will appear first at the source and move outward from there.

The National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs all signed on to the agreement with the water authority.

With protests from those agencies now settled, Davis predicted the Feb. 4 state hearing could end as much as a week early.

The only remaining protesters are conservationists, farmers and ranchers who warn that the water grab could devastate the environment and the economy of rural Nevada.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
Sultan’s Playroom from Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s Scott Rosenzweig talks about granting Sultan Bouras Souissi’s wish, and what went into building it. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Marsh brings historic replica of rural church to Amargosa Valley
Jim Marsh talks during the opening of the Chapel at Longstreet, a replica of an 1874 Catholic church built in the mining town of Belmont, Nev., at Marsh's Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nev. Chase Stevens/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like