Pat Mulroy, the long-time head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, announced her plans to retire this week. She’s been a strong proponent of the plan to pump groundwater from the Great Basin to Las Vegas. But she also suggested in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun that the project wouldn’t be necessary if Nevada could work out a deal with states such as Utah that hold water rights on the Colorado River.
A legislative commission is asking Utah’s governor to take another look at an agreement with Nevada over water rights in the Snake Valley. Federal law required the states of Utah and Nevada to work out an agreement before the Southern Nevada Water Authority could pump groundwater from the Snake Valley to Las Vegas. The deal was worked out more than three years ago, but Governor Gary Herbert decided just last month he wouldn’t sign it based on opposition from residents living in the area.
Governor Gary Herbert says he’ll decide whether or not to sign the controversial water sharing agreement with Nevada in the next couple of weeks. Nevada officials signed the document three years ago. It would allow the state to pump groundwater to Las Vegas by way of Snake Valley, which straddles the Utah/Nevada border.
The governor, speaking at the monthly KUED today news conference says it’s clear most people in Utah and even some in Nevada believe the pipeline is a mistake.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced its approval Thursday for a 300-mile pipeline from the interior valleys of the Great Basin to Las Vegas. The pipeline would be used to carry more than 84,000 acre-feet of water pumped from underground aquifers each year. The project is opposed by environmental groups, ranchers, local government officials and Native American tribes in both Nevada and Utah.
A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and political leaders sent a letter to Governor Gary Herbert, asking him not to sign a deal worked out with the state of Nevada to divide water rights in the Snake Valley. Steve Erickson represents the Great Basin Water Network. He says the deal worked out three years ago should be scrapped and the states should negotiate a new one.
"We have plenty of time to do further science and assess the potential damages from this project before we sign on the bottom line," Erickson told reporters at the Utah state capitol.
The director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Pat Mulroy, is threatening to take the state of Utah to the U.S. Supreme Court over an agreement to allocate groundwater in the Snake Valley on the Utah-Nevada state line. The statement was made in an e-mail to members of SNWA's board of directors. The agreement was required by federal law before a pipeline could be built carrying water from the Great Basin to Las Vegas.