The state engineer has issued an order requiring the dedication of a water right to drill a new domestic well in the Pahrump Artesian Basin.
Jason King said in announcing the order the basin is severely over-appropriated. It has an estimated perennial yield of 20,000 acre feet but that existing wells have the potential to draw more than three times that much water — 70,000 acre feet — a year.
He said there are some 8,000 undeveloped parcels of land in the Pahrump basin, each of which could drill a new well, exacerbating the problem. Domestic wells can use up to two acre feet of water a year without a water right.
King said his new order will require water rights for all new domestic wells.
It will not, however, apply to the rehabilitation or re-drilling of an existing domestic well.
Under state law, King has the authority to restrict well drilling in any basin if additional wells would cause undue interference with existing wells.