Water authority will continue Eastern Nevada water effort
May 23, 2015
Two supreme court orders issued last week won't prevent the Southern Nevada Water Authority from continuing its effort to acquire water from four Eastern Nevada aquifers, a spokesman said Tuesday, citing drought conditions on the Colorado River.
"The Southern Nevada Water Authority is disappointed that the Supreme Court denied its petition for review of Judge Estes' Dec. 13, 2013, decision," spokesman Bronson Mack said in an email to The Record-Courier. "However, the Court's decision is procedural in nature and does not address any substantive issues for the State Engineer. (The authority) remains confident that the additional data Judge Estes required can be gathered and presented to the State Engineer so that this unused, available groundwater can be developed for the benefit of two million Nevada citizens in accordance with Nevada water law."
The Nevada Supreme Court issued two short orders on May 21 denying Southern Nevada Water Authority's and the State Engineer's petitions for writs of mandamus.
Proponents said the ruling was a major victory for opponents of authority's pipeline project, led by White Pine County and the Great Basin Water Network and local Native American tribes.
The Supreme Court's orders follow its February order dismissing the original appeals. Now the authority and the State Engineer must comply with Judge Estes's order and demonstrate that the proposed groundwater export operation will be sustainable.
"These are standards that SNWA and the State Engineer themselves have repeatedly conceded, on the record, they cannot meet because the science does not support such conclusions," said Great Basin attorney Simeon Herskovits, of Advocates for Community and Environment.
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"The Nevada Supreme Court's rejection of SNWA's and the State Engineer's appeals, combined with Judge Estes's ruling in district court, represents a victory for the people and environment of the Great Basin in Nevada and Utah including ranchers and farmers who are threatened with elimination by SNWA's ill-considered, massive water grab," said Great Basin Water Network President Abby Johnson.
The May and February Nevada Supreme Court rulings are posted on greatbasinwaternetwork.org.