County commissioners have sent a letter to the Nevada State Water Engineer in regards to the Nevada Division of Water Resources seeking to make an end run around Nevada law to combine a group of water basins into a single one, rather than managing water rights basin by basin, as has been the method historically.
Commissioner Bevan Lister said at the Nov. 4 commission meeting it was “a farce in trying to manage multiple water basins as if it were all one,” eliminating basin-by-basin management and replacing it with the formation of super basins that encompass several hydrographic boundaries.
“There’s no science in it,” Lister said. He views it as “an arbitrary effort just to wrest control and in my mind, subvert Nevada water law.”
Public hearings were held for two weeks, Sept. 23 through Oct. 4 in Carson City, to review reports and evidence from interested parties on both sides of the issue.
Lincoln County Water District manager Wade Poulsen and District Attorney Dylan Frehner attended most of the meetings.
Poulsen said it is “a very complicated matter because so much of the water issues are connected.”
One of the issues raised at the hearings was having Kane Springs brought within the boundary of an administrative “super basin” unit designated as the Lower White River Flow System.
This would have an impact on both Coyote Springs and Kane Springs.
As Poulsen explained, because of pumping tests that have been done over recent years, the water engineer claims there is not enough water for all subdivision construction or development applications submittals within the Coyote Springs Valley basin because of the effects of too much of a drawdown of water in the Muddy River.
Poulsen said he feels the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is behind the push for super basins, at least for the Lower White River Flow System.
“They are pushing the apple cart away from Coyote Springs. Yet, SNWA is to be the water provider for Coyote Springs on the Clark County side, but are fighting to say there should be no pumping of water in Coyote Springs. I’ve never seen a water provider fight a development that they are supposed to be the water provider for, but here they are.”
Poulsen said Coyote Springs Investment has a lawsuit pending against SNWA because of this.
In the meantime, others claim that if water were to be pumped into Coyote Springs developments, it would cause a significant drawdown of water in the Muddy River, which flows into Lake Mead, which in turn feeds the Las Vegas Valley.
The letter from the commission board requests that the water engineer should not include Kane Springs in the new administrative boundary unit.
“Lincoln County believes that based on the evidence submitted, there are insufficient grounds to include Kane Springs.”
In addition the letter calls for “further study of the Coyote Springs Valley to determine if water can be pumped from either the northern or western boundary areas of the basin without impacting the Muddy River Springs area.”
The letter concludes by stating, “Just as water is the most precious asset in the state of Nevada, it is likewise the most precious asset in Lincoln County. Lincoln County relies upon the use of water resources within its boundaries for survival, growth and ongoing development. Thus, Lincoln County encourages the continued basin-by-basin approach to allow the capture and use of potential yield.”