Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | 2:06 p.m.
Hearings over whether the Southern Nevada Water Authority will be allowed to pump water from Snake Valley, on the Utah border, will not be held until fall of 2009.
SNWA had asked for hearings to start in January, while opponents of the authority's plans to pump water five hours south to Las Vegas had said they couldn't be ready until July at the earliest.
Despite spending more than two hours this morning telling State Engineer Tracy Taylor why the hearings should be held in January, SNWA admitted this afternoon that its own case couldn't be ready until summer, either.
SNWA attorney Paul G. Haggart said the authority came to the decision over lunch.
Susan Joseph Taylor, chief hearing office for the Division of Water Resources, told SNWA this morning that it would have to provide a complete model to predict the impacts of pumping from Snake Valley over 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 years.
Haggart said SNWA would finish producing a model by October 2008 as part of its federal environmental review process for its 250-plus mile pipeline. But the Bureau of Land Management, which is conducting the review, said it couldn't possibly examine that model and release the review until November or December.
This afternoon Haggart said that because the model needed to be reviewed by the federal government, hearings should be pushed back until summer.
The federal Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs had all argued that hearings should take place no sooner than July. The three federal agencies are opposing SNWA's applications for Spring Valley water.
Some of the people who oppose Southern Nevada's water plan asked for the hearings to be put off until fall 2009, and Taylor ultimately decided to go with that schedule.