Workshop set on Nevada Supreme Court water ruling
(AP) – A March 16 workshop has been scheduled to study the ramifications of a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that set back the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s efforts to pump thousands of gallons of water from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas.
The January ruling also threw into question thousands of water rights statewide.
State legislators held hearings during last week’s special session to try to correct the problem but decided it was too complicated for a quick fix that could have unintended consequences.
They directed the state engineer to hold hearings and make recommendations for either another special session or to have ready when the 2011 Legislature convenes next February.
The water authority has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision, and refiled new applications for water rights near the Nevada-Utah line.
Jason King, acting state engineer, said the workshop will include testimony on protection of existing water rights, status of pending applications, preservation of priorities and protest periods.
The Supreme Court ruled that the state engineer in 2007 violated the law in approving rights for the Southern Nevada Water Authority to withdraw 40,000 acre feet a year from Spring Valley in eastern Nevada because it did not act on the applications within a year from when they were filed in the last 1980s.
The ruling left in doubt thousands of other water rights that were approved since that time beyond the one-year time limit.
Justices referred the case back to Senior District Judge Norman Robison to determine whether the water authority must file new applications or if the state engineer must only reopen the protest period and the hearings.