Nevada’s State Engineer releases water right ruling on Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys

Ruling grants Southern Nevada Water Authority 18,755 acre-feet annually of 34,752 acre-feet requested

CARSON CITY, Nev.—Nevada’s State Engineer Tracy Taylor released his ruling today on the Cave Valley, Dry Lake Valley and Delamar Valley water right applications filed by the Las Vegas Valley Water District. The applications are now held by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Taylor’s ruling grants to SNWA 18,755 acre-feet of water annually. LVVWD applied for 34,752 acre-feet annually in applications that were originally filed in 1989.

Today’s ruling comes after a hearing held in February.

Allen Biaggi, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said that the State Engineer’s ruling demonstrates the strength of Nevada’s water law in balancing the needs of its citizens, protecting existing water rights and protecting Nevada’s natural resources.

“Taylor’s ruling is consistent with state law, is based on the best available science, and it allows for mitigation should environmental impacts occur in these basins as a result of pumping ground water,” he said.

Taylor previously ruled on ground-water withdrawals from Spring Valley and the first day of hearing is scheduled for Snake Valley on July 15.

KEY FINDINGS

The ruling’s key points include:

• Protests to application numbers 53987 through 53992 were overruled in part and upheld in part.
• The State Engineer is prohibited by law from granting an application to appropriate public waters where
o There is no unappropriated water at the proposed source.
o The proposed use or change conflicts with existing rights.
o The proposed use or change conflicts with domestic wells.
o The proposed change or use threatens to prove detrimental to the public interest.
• The State Engineer concludes there is unappropriated water for export from each of the valleys.
• The applications are granted subject to:
o A monitoring and mitigation program prior any water exportation
o A minimum of two years of data collection, as approved by the State Engineer, prior to exportation.
o Possible mitigation and/or halting of any pumping if there are impacts to existing water rights, conflicts with existing domestic wells or the pumping threatens to prove detrimental to the public interest or is found not to be environmentally sound.

KEY TERM

Perennial yield: The perennial yield of a ground-water reservoir may be defined as the maximum amount of ground water that can be salvaged each year over the long term without depleting the ground-water reservoir. Perennial yield is ultimately limited to the maximum amount of natural discharge that can be salvaged for beneficial use.

MORE INFORMATION

Download the complete ruling

Dry, Cave, Delamar Valleys Hearing Web site

Nevada Division of Water Resources Web site

Spring Valley ruling

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