Baker, NV – On May 21, the Great Basin Water Network issued the following statement after the Southern Nevada Water Authority Board’s voted to move the project into indefinite deferred status in its resource plan, revoking the remaining water rights applications filed in 1989 as a part of its Groundwater Development Project and its application for a 300-mile right of way with the BLM.
The news is the coup de grace for the 30-year-old, multi-billion-dollar water grab and highlights a major economic and environmental win for the state, its residents and its natural resources.
SNWA’s decision follows a March 9, 2020 order from Nevada District Court Judge Robert Estes that deemed the applications to pump water in Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys illegal under Nevada law, completing a string of seven consecutive legal victories against the State of Nevada and SNWA for GBWN.
The SNWA board’s actions go even further than the litigation by instructing the agency to revoke its remaining applications in Snake, Railroad, and Indian Springs Valleys.
The BLM Right of Way, which a federal judge ruled as non-compliant under the National Environmental Policy Act, was subject to a remand order in 2017.
SNWA, however, will maintain ownership of its multi-million-dollar ranching and farming operation that includes 900,000 acres of grazing allotments and around 60,000 afy of ground, surface, and supplemental water rights.
“Today’s vote is a victory for rural and urban Nevada. Vegas ratepayers will save billions of dollars, and the Great Basin’s aquifers will retain billions of gallons of water,” said Kyle Roerink, Executive Director of the Great Basin Water Network. “This decision is the product of immense sacrifice on behalf of rural communities, tribes, environmentalists and others – all of whom were told time and again that this day would never come. Furthermore, this action also reflects a changing mindset in Southern Nevada where conservation and Colorado River collaboration are the principal points of focus. SNWA’s board and General Manager Entsminger are now truly investing in a water future that is affordable, practical and ecological. We hope that remains for decades to come.”
“From the start we believed that all parts of the state and region should be able to survive and thrive,” said Abby Johnson, GBWN Board President. “The defeat of the water pipeline boondoggle is more than a huge victory for Great Basin Water Network and our allies. It’s also a win for future generations of plant life, wildlife and human life in the Great Basin.”