Utah’s rural ranchers and Salt Lake County are getting some help in their fight to keep Las Vegas’ hands off Utah’s water. Ranchers on the Nevada side of the border are going to court to stop the Vegas water grab.
The Great Basin Water Network is reporting that a coalition of ranchers and conservationists last week filed a brief in Nevada District Court challenging a ruling that granted Las Vegas water authorities right to pump nearly 6 billion gallons from two rural Nevada Counties, Lincoln and White Pine. A sister petition from Las Vegas asking to pump water from beneath Utah’s Snake Valley is scheduled to be heard by the Nevada state engineer in fall.
At a price tag of more than $3 billion, Las Vegas’ water agency, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), wants to run a 327-mile pipeline from valleys on the Utah-Nevada border to Sin City. Salt Lake County politicians have objected, saying the plan could dry Utah’s west desert and exacerbate dust storms that periodically cloud the skies of Salt Lake City. Utah ranchers say they need the water for crops.
The new lawsuit contends that SNWA has information showing the agency’s pipeline plan would harm other water users, but has withheld the studies. Court arguments are scheduled for summer.