Nevada top court considers creating water law commission

Wooden judge gavel on light background

Wooden judge gavel on light background

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court has held a public hearing on a petition that would create a commission to study how complex water cases in the state are decided.

The public hearing on Wednesday also addressed how Nevada could improve education, training and efficiency in how the state's courts handle elaborate water cases.

The court did not vote on any proposals during Wednesday's hearing.

The petition was brought by Chief Justice James Hardesty, who said the idea came to him after speaking to water law attorneys and judges who handle water cases.

"While water law is a challenging, complex and infrequently agreed upon subject in our law, what was a consistent theme in all of the conversations that I have had was the perceived benefits of a study that would look at how the judicial system adjudicates water law matters in the future," Hardesty said.

Most of the comments heard in the hearing supported a re-examination of how the state's courts handle the century-old water law.

White Pine County District Court Judge Gary Fairman said in written comments submitted for the hearing that "there is no doubt" water cases "are complex and require a considerable amount of judicial time."
One of the things Hardesty would want the commission to consider is allowing the chief justice of the Supreme Court to assign specific District Court judges to handle all water cases in the state, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho and Montana have implemented courts to address water cases.


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