STATE ENGINEER GRANTS SOME OF AGENCY’S REQUEST

Their proposed pipeline might be half-empty so far, but Southern Nevada Water Authority officials prefer to see it as half-full.

Deputy General Manager Kay Brothers said she is generally pleased by a ruling Wednesday that grants the authority a little more than half of the groundwater it sought from three valleys in central Lincoln County.

The order issued by State Engineer Tracy Taylor clears the way for the authority to pump more than 6 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Cave, Delamar and Dry Lake valleys. When stretched through reuse, the water could supply almost 64,000 homes.

The authority wanted to pipe more than 11 billion gallons a year from the three valleys as part of its groundwater exportation project targeting parts of rural Clark, Lincoln and White Pine counties.

"We thought more water was available, but we know the state engineer is conservative and we respect that," Brothers said.

Taylor’s ruling mirrors a previous decision that gave the authority only a part of the water it was seeking from White Pine County’s Spring Valley. In that order, issued last year, the state’s top water regulator approved 13 billion gallons a year out of a request for almost 30 billion. But Taylor agreed to let the authority take an additional 6.5 billion gallons annually if a decade of pumping proves the water is available.

Brothers said the authority’s resource plan for the next 50 years was built on the assumption that the agency would not get all the groundwater it applied for in eastern Nevada.

"Our planning horizon has always looked at a range, and what we’ve seen so far is in that range," she said.

By as early as 2013, the authority hopes to start delivering rural groundwater to the Las Vegas Valley through a pipeline that is expected to stretch more than 250 miles and cost between $2 billion and $3.5 billion.

Authority officials see the project as a way to supply water for growth in the Las Vegas Valley and insulate the community from drought on the Colorado River, which provides 90 percent of the valley’s drinking water.

Critics argue that large-scale groundwater pumping in the arid valleys of eastern Nevada threatens the region’s wildlife and the livelihoods of its ranchers and farmers.

Wednesday’s ruling drew a tepid response from those most opposed to the project.

"We think the decision was sort of a mixed bag," said Simeon Herskovits, a New Mexico-based attorney representing stakeholders who have protested the authority’s plans to the state.

Herskovits said Taylor agreed with some of the concerns raised by the opposition and "didn’t bite" on some of the authority’s more speculative arguments. But, he said, the state engineer failed to address the long-term problems with pumping so much water, though the authority is "locking it in as a permanent supply."

"There are some things to be pleased about" in the ruling, Herskovits said, "but overall, we are concerned that the outcome was too much water permitted to the Southern Nevada Water Authority."

For Lincoln County resident Farrel Lytle, the issue is personal. He said he comes from a family that has been running cattle in Dry Lake Valley since the 1870s, "so, yeah, we have a long-term interest over there."

His cousin Kenneth Lytle and several other ranchers still use the valley for livestock grazing.

"That’s their winter range," Farrel Lytle said. "They can see their wells running dry, and they’re out of business."

Of particular concern to him is the figure Taylor came up with for the amount of water that flows into the valley each year through precipitation, in-flow from neighboring basins and other sources. Lytle said Taylor’s perennial yield estimate of 12,700 acre-feet, about 41 billion gallons, seems far too high.

"It’s called Dry Lake Valley for a reason," he said. "There aren’t any alfalfa circles out there."

Of the 6.1 billion gallons a year Taylor granted to the authority Wednesday, 3.8 billion will come from Dry Lake Valley, 1.5 billion from Cave Valley and 800 million from Delamar Valley.

Brothers said the groundwater from Delamar Valley, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas, will be part of the first to arrive as the pipeline network is built from south to north.

Under Taylor’s order, the authority will be required to develop a monitoring and mitigation program and to collect data for at least two years before exporting any water from the three valleys.

With the Lincoln County basins out of the way, the one piece of the pipeline puzzle that remains is Snake Valley, a White Pine County watershed that straddles the Nevada-Utah border.

The authority has applied to take as much as 16 billion gallons of water a year from the valley, which is home to Great Basin National Park and some of the pipeline project’s most outspoken critics.

Taylor will hold a planning session in Carson City next week to set the ground rules for a hearing on Snake Valley. The hearing is expected to take place early next year.

Opponents are weighing a court challenge of Wednesday’s ruling. Herskovits said it is too soon to predict whether they will go that route.

"I’ve read it once so far," he said of the 40-page document. "I’d like to read it two or three more times."

Even if the ruling goes unchallenged, the pipeline project still could wind up in federal court. Environmental reviews are under way that could trigger lawsuits from ranchers and conservation groups, Herskovits said.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
Weather Balloon Collects Key Data
Meteorologist Chelsea Kryston discusses the Las Vegas National Weather Service's balloon carrying a radiosonde that collects temperature, humidity and pressure readings.
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark And it will have done so faster than any other film in history. The Anthony and Joe Russo directed film has only been in theaters for eight days since its Apr. 27 release, and it’s already raked in $905.1 million at the worldwide box office, including $338.4 million in North America. It will reach the milestone faster than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which took 12 days to cross over the $1 billion threshold. ‘Infinity War’ is the 34th film to cross $1 billion at the global box office, not accounting for inflation.
Henderson Residents Fighting Their HOA
Sun City Anthem residents Tim Stebbins and Bob Frank were arrested by the Henderson Police Department for filing a false report of a crime after they claimed their HOA was hiding surplus assessments in a secret slush fund. Nearly a decade later, Frank is still trying to clear his name. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Professor Retiring After 50 Years
Professor Bernard Malamud reflects on his 50 years teaching economics at UNLV and what it's been like watching to school and the city grow.
Donald Trump recognizes Jon Ponder of Hope for Prisoners
Former bank robber Jon Ponder, now CEO of Hope for Prisoners, is recognized by President Donald Trump at the White House Rose Garden. Debra J. Saunders/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Motorcyclist suffers severe head injury
A crash early Friday morning has left a motorcyclist hospitalized with a serious head injury, according to Las Vegas police. The crash occurred in the southwest valley at Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, and was reported around 1:30 a.m. Police are investigating and one lane of the eastbound 215 offramp has been shut down.
Woman stabbed in the stomach
Las Vegas police are looking for the suspect who stabbed a woman in the stomach during a street robbery Friday morning in the central valley. The 37-year-old woman walked into the 7-Eleven at 531 E. Sahara Ave., around 1:30 a.m. with a wound to her abdomen, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive her wound. The stabber remains at-large.
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Eighteen House members sent a letter to the Nobel Committee in Norway, recommending President Donald Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The letter was signed by Rep. Luke Messer and other GOP members, according to the New York Post. Letter to Nobel Committee This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump deserved the nomination, as well, for his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Trump is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un soon.
Bodycam video: Las Vegas police breach gunman’s door during Oct. 1 shooting
Las Vegas police released body camera footage that depicts the moment officers breached Oct. 1 gunman Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite.
McCaw School of Mines welcomes its 100,000th visitor
The McCaw School of Mines simulated underground mine attraction has been welcoming field trips and other visitors since 1996. On April 30, they welcomed the 100,000th visitor. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like