The Southern Nevada Water Authority has asked for a one-year delay before a hearing on the last part of its multibillion-dollar plan to tap groundwater across Eastern Nevada.
The four-week state hearing on the authority’s groundwater applications in Snake Valley is scheduled to convene Sept. 28 in Carson City.
Authority officials say they need more time to finish a complex computer model showing the flow of groundwater in Snake Valley and neighboring basins. The model will help predict the effects of large-scale pumping in the area.
In a letter sent to the state on Monday, authority officials asked for the hearing to be put off until September 2010. That should allow the authority to complete its model, and give state officials and pipeline opponents the time they need to review it, they said.
Authority spokesman J.C. Davis said the model is being developed in consultation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and that has slowed the process.
By as early as 2013, the authority hopes to start delivering rural groundwater to the valley through a pipeline that eventually could stretch more than 300 miles and cost between $2 billion and $3.5 billion.
Some of the loudest opposition to the project has come from Snake Valley, in White Pine County. The aquifer straddles the Nevada-Utah border and underlies portions of Great Basin National Park.
The authority has applied for permits in Snake Valley that would allow it to pump more than 16 billion gallons of groundwater a year, enough to serve about 100,000 average Las Vegas homes.
It is unclear how, or how quickly, the state engineer might rule on the request for more time.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.