Las Vegas Sun

August 25, 2019

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Water authority wraps up at pipeline hearing

CARSON CITY – A predicted or perceived water shortage in Southern Nevada will have a devastating effect not only in Las Vegas, but in the entire state, an economic analyst has testified.

Jeremy Aguero was the last of 25 witnesses presented by the Southern Nevada Water Authority over three weeks to discuss a plan that involves pumping millions of gallons a year from two rural counties to the Las Vegas area.

The hearing was before state engineer Jason King, who plans to make a ruling early next year on the application for 125,976 acre-feet a year to serve the growing needs of Southern Nevada. The hearing is now in two weeks of recess and the parties protesting the water transfer will begin their case then.

Aguero said a water limitation would have an effect on the tourism industry in Las Vegas. Without the additional water, it could put the Las Vegas area into a deeper economic recession, he said.

The next-to-last witness Friday was Richard Holmes, deputy general manager for the water authority, who testified that recreational uses in the four valleys in White Pine and Lincoln counties were limited.

Asked if the applications for water rights filed prior to the ones of the water authority should be granted, Holmes said if they were for agriculture, the public interest would be better served by giving the water to Clark County.

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