On July 24, Nevada state water engineer Jason King hosted a meeting in Moapa in which he discussed his ruling on several groundwater basins in rural eastern Nevada, including Lincoln County, which he believes are seriously over appropriated.
A large group of people gathered to hear King explain this ruling.
As reported later on KLAS 8 News Now, Las Vegas, many of those gathered have water rights in the valleys around U.S. 93 and I-15.
Last May, King blocked continued development of the long-stalled Coyote Springs project. He maintained the position that groundwater pumping could harm the collection of five linked aquifers stretching from Apex north to Coyote Springs. It would also harm federally protected fish or senior water rights in neighboring valleys.
Published reports note that some 40,000 acre-feet of water are allocated in the five interconnected basins. As of 2001, over 300 people have filed applications for approximately 300,000 more acre-feet.
An acre-foot is enough to supply two average homes for a bit longer than one year. Another way of viewing it is that one acre-foot of water would cover a football field one-foot-deep.
In 2014, the water engineer denied all claims for new water rights.
King’s denial of water for the Coyote Springs development has gone to litigation, which Chief Operating Officer Emila Cargill declined to comment about.
At the Moapa meeting, King said that he, “could not justify the approval of subdivision maps based on junior priority water rights without the identification of other water sources for development.”
Or in other words, he thinks there is not enough water for the planned development at Coyote Springs without seriously damaging water rights in other places.
As reported by KLAS, the Southern Nevada Water Authority spent $25 million to buy the water rights that go with the Coyote Springs property.
Cargill said at the meeting, “Coyote Springs Investments objects to any restrictions to its water and asks that all decisions of the state engineer be transparent and motivated only by science.”
King’s ruling on the other four basins, not counting Coyote Springs, is expected at any time.
An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted Joseph Davis, general manager of the Moapa Valley Water District, said the meeting was “very productive” and the first step toward developing a management plan for responsible water development in the area.