Governor Gary Herbert traveled to the Snake Valley on the Utah-Nevada line yesterday to talk to people who might be impacted by a plan to pump groundwater from the Great Basin to Las Vegas.
The governor stopped at the high schools in EskDale and Partoun and met with a few dozen residents to ask their opinion of a draft agreement between the states of Utah and Nevada. The agreement divides the groundwater in the Snake Valley, which straddles the state line. The governor says the agreement gives Utah some legal protections that it otherwise won’t have if the project goes ahead.
Ken Hill, who lives in Partoun and works at West Desert High School, says he’d like to see the deal go through, but he says most of his neighbors disagree.
“A lot of people said that the division of the water is just a stupid number, it’s just a made-up political number and that the agreement, as written, probably is not as strong as what people would like to see it," Hill tells KUER.
Environmentalists and ranchers say the underground aquifers are linked in the Great Basin Valleys and pumping the water could dry up springs and wells that ranchers and rural communities depend on. The governor says he’ll decide whether to sign the agreement by April 1st.