Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

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White Pine County officials to appeal rural water ruling

CARSON CITY — Before a standing-room crowd, the White Pine County Commission voted unanimously to appeal the state ruling allowing water to be pumped from rural Nevada to Las Vegas.

White Pine County Commissioner Gary Perea said he does not think state Engineer Jason King considered existing water-rights holders, the environment or wildlife in making his ruling in March.

Perea said the deadline for filing suit is April 23.

All of the persons who spoke at the county commission meeting Wednesday favored the district court appeal.

Perea noted that the Nevada Supreme Court once overturned the state ruling sending water from the rural counties to the growing Southern Nevada. He said he expected the rurals to win again.

The Great Basin Water Network, one of the leaders in the fight against the Vegas applications, is also looking at filing suit. "We believe there are opportunities for a legal challenge and we are carefully weighing our options," Abigail Johnson, a spokeswoman for the network, said.

The authority first asked for 125,976 acre feet but then lowered it to an annual 104,856 acre feet. An acre foot equals 323,851 gallons.

King, in making his ruling in March, noted the Las Vegas area reduced its annual water consumption by 21 billion gallons despite a growth of 400,000 residents. Fears have been expressed that growth could stop in Southern Nevada unless it receives more water.

There were more than 2,000 protests filed with the state engineer in an effort to head off the applications of Southern Nevada Water Authority. Authority officials could not be reached for comment on the actions of the White Pine County Commission.

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