Why Donate

Join GBWN on

Web GBWN

GBWN Press Release: February 10, 2015 — Las Vegas Water Grab Appeals Rejected by Nevada Supreme Court
    Press Coverage — Las Vegas Review Journal
    Press Coverage — AP

   About GBWN — The Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) protects the water resources of the Great Basin for current and future residents. GBWN is an all volunteer 501c3 Non-Government Organization (NGO). GBWN supports water conservation programs for urban and rural communities that address economic incentives for water smart-practices as opposed to building multi-million dollar water extraction projects. Read the latest GBWN Newsletter [11/2014] Water Gab Newsletter

   Litigation — Southern Nevada Water Authority's plans to convey millions of gallons of groundwater from central and eastern Nevada to Las Vegas have generated a deluge of legal challenges at the state and federal level. Pending before the Nevada Supreme Court is the appeal of Judge Estes' district court decision. At the federal level, GBWN's appeal of BLM's Record of Decision and Final EIS awaits action in federal district court in Las Vegas. Participating parties challenging the water decisions in court include Nevada and Utah local governments, Tribes, businesses, non-profit organizations (like GBWN) and a long list of citizens who have joined the fight: Read the legal Arguments.

   New Information & Documents [August / November 2014]

  • TTROUBLED WATERS: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water — Corporate Accountability International
  • Top 10 Myths about Desalination — By Genevieve D. Minter and Mark Bird
  • USGS Report — Hydrology Groundwater Movement, Snake Valley
  • Nevada State Engineer — Report to the Public Lands Committee on Listening Sessions
  • Pacific Institute — Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines: Towards a Common Approach to Report Water Issues

   GBWN Events

   In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west, as well as information about the Southern Nevada Water Authority’ (SNWA) “Water Grab” proposed in eastern Nevada and northwestern Utah, along with other development projects that threaten water resources of the Great Basin. [Note: Stories open in new browser window]

Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg March 05, 2015 — Sin City's Thirst Is Drying Up the West — It’s Mammon versus Mormon as Las Vegas and its glittering towers of glass and greed seek to quench their growing thirst by draining billions of gallons of water from under the feet of ranchers whose cattle help feed the church’s poor. The biblical battle across 275 miles of treeless ridges and baked salt flats comes as the western U.S. faces unprecedented droughts linked to climate change. The surface of Las Vegas’s main source of water, Lake Mead, sits more than 100 feet below Hoover Dam’s spillways after reaching the lowest mark last summer since the dam was filled — by Edvard Pettersson, Blommberg

Photo, RJ.com March 03, 2015 — Water district signs off on rate hike for Lake Mead pump station — Las Vegas Valley Water District customers will see their rates go up in each of the next three years to help pay for a new deep-water pumping station at Lake Mead. The Clark County Commission, sitting as the board for the valley’s largest water utility, unanimously approved the rate hike Tuesday.

The increase will begin appearing on bills in January and be phased in through 2018, when it tops out with an increase of almost $5 per month for most residential customers. Commercial customers and others with larger service lines will pay substantially more — RJ.com

March 03, 2015 — Editorial: Utah’s water plan needs to account for climate change — Despite the growing research that less rain and snow will fall here in the coming decades, the people planning Utah's water future have not adjusted their models. A recent study from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has offered a stark prediction: If the current rates of human-generated emissions continues, there is an 80 percent chance of a 30- to 35-year megadrought in the American southwest — Sltrib.com

March 03, 2015 — Expert: overpopulation, city expansion likely cause of future Colorado River Basin water shortages — GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Experts say conservation efforts like not watering lawns, taking shorter showers, turning off faucets and not washing your vehicle are not going to help in a long-term solution for water shortages along the Colorado River Basin. According to John Weisheit conservation director for Living Rivers, the only thing that will stop water from disappearing is to put the brakes on city expansion and population growth — Havasunews.com

Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP March 02, 2015 — Glass half full? — On Jan. 1, I joined 15 friends on a raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. That morning, our boats were covered in snow; the canyon’s red cliffs, capped with white, looked like giant slabs of frosted carrot cake. The ranger said locals had never seen the place so wintry — hcn.org

March 02, 2015 — 6 Ways to Save the Salton Sea and Colorado Delta — With scientific modeling foreshadowing megadroughts in the Southwest and Great Plains, it is imperative policymakers implement freshwater projects along the lower Colorado River, in particular, the Salton Sea, a 376-square-mile freshwater agricultural sump in southeastern California, and in the Colorado River Delta where the waterway ends its journey in the Baja California desert — NationalGeographic.com

Februry 28, 2015 — Growing Utah town wants even more water via pipeline — ST. GEORGE, Utah – This corner of the Mojave Desert that locals call "Color Country" is a fast-growing little retirement haven with a water problem. With an application now before federal regulators, state and county officials hope to assure continued growth via a 140-mile pipeline from the Colorado River at Lake Powell — Azcentral.com

photo -- azcentral.com February 28, 2015 — Ongoing battle between urban and rural water users [Ranchers like Tom and Dean Baker are fighting to retain water rights on the Utah-Nevada border] — BAKER, Nev. – Black sand gurgled like a mud volcano from the bottom of Clay Springs, pushed aside by crystalline water rising to the desert's surface. Rancher Tom Baker stood in the marshy pasture beside one of the few oases that have kept his family ranching cattle across the Utah-Nevada line just downhill from Great Basin National Park. Cows romped and chewed in the green island surrounded by a sea of brittle brown greasewood. Baker shook his head in disgust. "To think you're going to take all the water out of the ground (to build) a few more blocks in Las Vegas," he said, practically spitting out his words. The urban Southwest has a water problem, and residents of this barely populated valley fear they'll be among the first casualties — Azcentral.com

photo -- azcentral.com February 28, 2015 — As the River Runs Dry: The Southwest's water crisis — LAS VEGAS – The patroller stopped his water district truck and grabbed his camcorder. "Here we go," he said, sliding from the cab and pointing his lens at the fine spray of water and rainbow rising from pop-up sprinklers on the lawn of a low-slung ranch home. Thursday," he spoke, recording the day as evidence. No watering allowed on Thursdays. Welcome to the future, where every drop of Colorado River water is guarded and squeezed. Only here, in the city that gets 90 percent of its water from the fickle and fading river, the future is now — Azcentral.com

February 26, 2015 — Pioneering Desert Fish Biologist, Researcher, and Staunch Advocate for Desert Ecosystems Dr. Jim Deacon Has Died — Over the course of his 55-year career, Deacon focused on the conservation of desert fish and other freshwater species and on sustainable water-use advocacy in the Southwest. His work contributed to the protection of several threatened and endangered aquatic species, helped secure water rights for Death Valley and Zion national parks, and helped create Ash Meadows and Moapa national wildlife refuges in Nevada — biologicaldiversity.org

February 25, 2015 — Business: Real thirst: With alkalized water brands tapping our precious local supply, has the bottled water business gone too far? — A few months ago in her Carson City home, Abby Johnson’s cleaning lady held up a bottle of Real Water and declared that the stuff had changed her life — she was sleeping better and feeling more energetic since she started drinking it, she said. “Let me see that,” Johnson replied, examining the bottle. Amid the fine print, she saw these words: “Source of water: Las Vegas Valley Water District.” — Story by Heidi Kyser

Sam Morris/Las Vegas Review-Journal February 25, 2015 — Top official delivers bleak forecast for Lake Mead — WASHINGTON — Nevada faces “significant possibilities” of water shortages if drought on the Colorado River persists into the next two years, according to an ominous forecast delivered Wednesday by a top government official. Michael Connor, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, said there is a 20 percent chance of shortages in Nevada and Arizona in 2016 if levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell continue to drop, “and it goes up to almost 50 percent after that — RJ.com

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune February 22, 2015 — Will Utah be ready for a drier, hotter climate?— The specter of drought hanging over the Southwest is already pretty dire, with forests drying out into beetle-killed tinderboxes and reservoir levels plunging. But the current dry spell may barely register in comparison with what has happened in the distant past and could happen in the near future, according to research released this month. And we may have ourselves to blame — sltrib.com

February 20, 2015 — Record West Coast drought shows no signs of easing — The flip side to the frigid weather in much of the U.S. is record warmth in the West. Parts of Alaska hit the mid-50s this week. And it's dry -- 93 percent of California is in a severe drought that's going on four years — CBS News

Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post/AP) February 18, 2015 — Colorado mountain snow is bright spot during drought in West: DENVER — Snowpack in the mountain valleys where the Colorado River originates was only a little below normal on Wednesday, marking one of the few bright spots in an increasingly grim drought gripping much of the West. Measurement stations in western Colorado showed the snowpack at 90 percent of the long-term average.

By contrast, reporting stations in the Sierra Nevada range in drought-stricken California showed snowpack at 50 percent or less in early February, the most recent figures available. Some detected no snow at all — Abqjournal.com

Water flows from a spring in the Snake Valley. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) February 12, 2015 — Study: Snake Valley groundwater development unsustainable — SALT LAKE CITY – A hydrologic study commissioned by the Utah Legislature seven years ago concludes any significant groundwater development in Snake Valley and adjacent areas is not sustainable and even current pumping is drawing down the aquifer. The study, released Thursday, compiled data from a monitoring network developed by the Utah Geological Survey that includes wells placed in farm land, ranching areas, springs and at remote sites. A total of 76 wells recorded water levels hourly and six sites featured spring flow gauges . . . Simeon Herskovitz, an attorney who has represented multiple groups and individuals suing Nevada over the issue, praised the report's findings and said it should be evidence enough to compel the Southern Nevada Water Authority to back off its groundwater pumping plan — DesertNews.com
[Direct Link to the Study - 294 Pages, 82.5MB]

February 12, 2015 — Southwest now 50 percent, study concludes — The chance of a "megadrought" gripping the Southwest for more than 30 years has increased to 50 percent, scientists say, which means bad news for California's already parched landscape. The odds of a 10-year drought afflicting the southwestern U.S. have increased to 80 percent, according to a new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey — SacBee.com
More Coverage: Warming Pushes Western U.S. Toward Driest Period in 1,000 Years — Astrobio.net
More Coverage: Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Predicted for American West — National Geographics

February 11, 2015 — We have lots of water; the Colorado River Basin doesn't —Private well owners and suburban water companies and wildlife living around Tucson are reaping the benefits of this fall's and winter's robust rainfall. It's been raining at nearly twice the normal rate since October. But Tucson Water customers aren't so lucky, because the snowpack that feeds their prime water source is looking a lot less lush right now. That's the Upper Colorado River Basin, whose streams and mountains provide the raw material for the Central Arizona Project water that leaves Lake Havasu for a 336-mile journey by pipeline and concrete canal to Phoenix and Tucson —tucson.com

February 09, 2015 — Supreme Court decision keeps water pipeline dry for now — The Nevada Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal of a lower court ruling that effectively stripped the Southern Nevada Water Authority of water rights for its controversial pipeline from eastern Nevada. In 2013, Senior District Judge Robert Estes ruled that the state’s chief water regulator failed to adequately support a decision two years earlier to allow the authority to sink its wells in four lonesome valleys in Lincoln and White Pine counties. In an unpublished order issued Friday, the Supreme Court declared that Estes’ decision was not subject to appeal, a move that could force State Engineer Jason King to follow through on additional work the judge requested — Las Vegas Review Journal Read GBWN Press Release! [2 Page PDF]
More Coverage — AP

February 08, 2015 — Public meeting Monday on $650M pumping station, proposed rate increase . . . Southern Nevada water users will have the opportunity Monday to learn more about a proposed $650 million low-lake level pumping station and a proposed rate increase to pay for the project — Mynews3.com

February 07, 2015 — Climate change will increase evaporation of Colorado River —The Colorado River faces a dual threat from climate change as rising temperatures increase the demand for irrigation water and accelerate evaporation at the river’s two largest reservoirs. So says a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which predicts an 8 percent increase in irrigation demand on the lower half of the Colorado River Basin and a 10 percent increase in evaporation from Lake Mead by 2080 —RJ.com

February 04, 2015 — [Nevada] Legislature to attempt to fix Pahrump water concerns — he Nevada Division of Water Resources has proposed a controversial fix to Pahrump’s projected water woes by the crafting of two bills, scheduled to be heard by the state Legislature on Feb. 11. State engineer Jason King, in pre-filed Senate Bill 65, has asked that Chapter 533 of Nevada’s Revised Statutes relating to the adjudication of vested water rights and provisions relating to underground water be “modernized.” — pvtimes.com

February 02, 2015 — Great Salt Lake at near-record low level — There's a new normal at the Great Salt Lake. Hundreds of square miles of lakebed are exposed. Boat marinas are nearly landlocked. Islands have become peninsulas connected to the mainland. Salinity is rising in the south arm — endangering biodiversity and the brine shrimp and minerals industries. Water-sucking plants are growing on the shore. And mercury and other toxic metals normally trapped deep in the lower layers of the lake are swirling closer to the surface and drying into dust on the shore.[See photos] sltrib.com

February 02, 2015 — Colo. River shortage may happen by 2017 — There is a 61 percent chance of the U.S. Interior Department declaring a shortage on the lower Colorado River by 2017, a Central Arizona Project official told state lawmakers Thursday. That declaration would trigger a cut in water that in recent years has been stored underground in anticipation of a shortage as well as water allocated to central Arizona agriculture, Deputy General Manager Marie Pearthree told the House Agriculture, Water and Lands Committee. “Municipal and industrial water to cities do not take a shortage unless Lake Mead drops significantly farther,” she told Cronkite News after her talk — yumasun.com

January 29, 2015 Hickenlooper: Water usage, not storage, will solve Colorado's shortfall — The population growth in Colorado and other Western states cannot continue unless water supply challenges are met, Gov. John Hickenlooper and state planners said Thursday in opening the Colorado Water Congress annual conference — DenverPost.com

January 24, 2015 — LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Some questions about our water — Despite constantly hearing from both past and present water bosses that Las Vegas has nothing to worry about and that the Southwest must and will work together to solve the Colorado River crisis, reading between the lines of the official statements leaves more questions than answers— Howard Watts III, Las Vegas

January 24, 2015 — Contaminated site near Lake Mead to get $1.1B for cleanup — Billions of dollars from an environmental contamination settlement now can be disbursed nationwide, including for cleanup of former uranium sites on the Navajo Nation and a chemical manufacturing site near Lake Mead — AP

January 20, 2015 — Expert panel dives into Colorado River challenges — A panel of Colorado River specialists came together Wednesday night to share insights into a short but far from simple question: Can the Colorado River Survive? Although the group that entertained a large crowd at ASU Havasu’s Daytona Gym didn’t solve all of the river’s problems, they offered diverse views and insightful thought — Havansunews.com

All 2014 & 215 News Stories


   GBWN Video Files Baker Family Ranches Video The Consequences...Transporting Snake Valley Water to Satisfy a Thirsty Las Vegas: An Eastern Nevada Rancher's Story is a virtual water tour of Snake Valley. Baker Family Ranches has produced the DVD to help people understand that there is not enough water in Snake Valley to justify the Southern


   GBWN Events

Purpose | About | Issues | Litigation | News | Publications | Get Involved | TimeLine | Forum | Links | Photos | Maps | Contacts