Nevada Legislature panel votes to create statewide water agency |

Nevada Legislature panel votes to create statewide water agency

Geoff Dornan |

Lawmakers voted Friday to create a new statewide water planning program to improve water conservation, drought response, long-term flood management and long-range planning.

Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said Nevada hasn’t had a water planning agency in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources since 2001.

“We need water planning,” he said.

The vote by the subcommittee of Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means was unanimous.

The new agency was recommended in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s budget after supporters pointed out the current Water Planning Section at DCNR handles dam safety and engineering, planning, promoting conservation, drought planning and the statewide flood program. Backers including Goicoechea say the current structure doesn’t support a comprehensive water planning program.

The new agency would require $894,791 in General Fund money to support three new positions including a program chief and two assistant water planners. It would also include five existing staff members, two of them currently handling flood program duties and three added two years ago to support planning efforts. It would also include the existing Outreach Coordinator for a total of nine staff members in the agency.