U.S. Water News Online
LAS VEGAS -- Water officials have taken official action to
show plans to slake the thirst of urban Clark County only reach as
far north as White Pine County -- at least for now.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has adopted a formal
resolution promising not to seek groundwater rights in Elko County,
buy ranches to acquire existing water rights, or obtain land and
water through eminent domain or gifts.
The water authority board action has the effect of drawing the
line for southern Nevada water development midway between Ely and
The agency has asked the state to let it draw more than 115,000
acre feet of water a year from White Pine County, Elko County's
neighbor to the south.
The agency also has purchased three ranches in White Pine County
with thousands of acre-feet of surface and groundwater rights, and is
developing rural groundwater sources in Lincoln and northern Clark
Water drawn from those sources would be delivered to Las Vegas
through a 250-mile network of pipelines that officials estimate could
cost $2 billion and could provide 200,000 acre feet of water a year.
Water authority officials say the Las Vegas area needs the water
to continue to grow. The region now relies almost completely on
300,000 acre feet of water per year that the state is allocated from
the Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River.
The resolution does not fully address the fears of residents in
Elko, Carlin and Spring Creek.
It could be reversed by a future water authority board.
However, Elko County Commissioner Sheri Eklund-Brown said she was
encouraged that the water authority board vote was unanimous.
Elko County District Attorney Gary Woodbury said he believed the
intent of the resolution was to limit Elko County protests against
Southern Nevada Water Authority ground water development plans for
White Pine County.
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