In The News
  Great Basin Water Network — 2020

In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; press stories also cover the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin.
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Tom Baker, a fourth-generation rancher in Nevada’s Snake Valley. Rural Nevadans fought a water pipeline to Las Vegas — and won. September 18, 2020 — WATER: Killing the Vegas Pipeline Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing — For decades, the Great Basin Water Network has made a point of strange bedfellowing. Its ranks include ranchers, environmentalists, sportsmen, rural county commissioners, Indigenous leaders, water users from Utah, and rural and urban Nevadans. Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. Nevadans called it the Las Vegas Pipeline; its ardent foes called it a water grab. In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated —

July 30, 2020 — The odd-bedfellows coalition that held off Las Vegas’s bid to pump water out of the Great Basin — This week on In the Hive we continue our look at water in Utah and the West. For 31 years, a battle has been waging between water purveyors in the city of Las Vegas and residents along the Utah-Nevada border over aquifers beneath a number of Great Basin valleys. For three decades, in and out of the courts, the two sides fought over water rights, the science behind groundwater pumping, and the future of a remote high-desert region. Then, a little over a month ago, Las Vegas decided they didn’t need the water after all. We hear about the coalition that fought Vegas tooth-and-nail for decades, and about why a big pipeline project now appears to be dead in the water —   26.6MB -- 29.00 min

July 18, 2020 — OPINION – By Richard Spotts: Nevada should challenge Utah’s move for a Lake Powell pipeline — In politics, what goes around can and sometimes should come around. A case in point is the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) and Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) —

July 11, 2020 — LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Utah pipeline hurts Nevada — Nevada should challenge the Lake Powell Pipeline because it would promote Utah’s wasting of precious Colorado River water when deliveries to Nevada are being cut back. Nevada relies heavily on Colorado River water . . . Las Vegas Sun Print PDF

June 05, 2020 — Is This the End of a 30-Year Fight Over a Proposed Water Pipeline? — On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab.” The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three decades of acrimonious battle between the SNWA and Great Basin Water Network. That coalition of environmentalists, Native American tribes, ranchers, and other opponents believed the water authority’s plan would turn 200 square miles of cultural sites, farms and ranches, and public lands into a dust bowl. They also criticized what they estimated would be a $15.5-billion price tag —
[23:52] Listen to the interview: Guests: Pat Mulroy, former general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; Justin Jones, board member, Southern Nevada Water Authority and Clark County Commissioner; Kyle Roerink, executive director, Great Basin Water Network

June 05, 2020 — End of the Line: Two Former Foes on the Death of the 'Water Grab' — On May 21, during an otherwise business-as-usual meeting, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab” . . . But the water authority hung onto to what its author, now-retired general manager Pat Mulroy, called the “in-state project,” insisting that it needed a plan B for precarious Colorado River water supplies. Mulroy retired at the end of 2013, and one of her counterparts at the Great Basin Water Network, Abby Johnson, has spent the last couple years training its first executive director (Kyle Roerink) to take over representing the organization from her and other founding members. Here, Mulroy and Johnson reflect on the conflict they’ve both been involved with since the beginning. Their interviews have been meshed into one “conversation,” and edited for length and clarity —

May 25, 2020 — 0:13:12 The Las Vegas Water Grab is Dead — In 1989, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) began buying water rights in rural Nevada and developing a plan to export the groundwater via a 300 mile-long pipeline across public land for domestic and industrial use in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Last week, the SNWA Board of Directors voted to assign the project a status of “deferred,” effectively scrapping the plan The Sierra Nevada Ally

May 21, 2020 — Water authority board votes to withdraw remaining water right applications, permits for pipeline project — The Southern Nevada Water Authority board voted Thursday to withdraw its remaining permits and applications associated with its proposal to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas — a project criticized by environmentalists, ranchers, tribes and rural counties. The unanimous decision by the board, which is composed of local elected officials, marks an end to the water authority’s multi-decade effort to get approval for the controversial water project —

May 09, 2020 — Kyle Roerink and Steve Erickson: The tale of two pipelines for desert cities — Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply –– including Great Salt Lake.

After weeks of deliberation, the Southern Nevada Water Authority declined to appeal a resounding rejection of its Las Vegas pipeline project by a Nevada District Court – essentially ending the 14-year legal fight over water applications in Nevada’s Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys (Spring Valley’s water ultimately flows into Great Salt Lake). Since the project’s inception in 1989, opponents have known what the judge affirmed: The there is no surplus water for export —

May 07, 2020 — Guest opinion: Residents of Utah’s West Desert continue their fight for water Although a recent court victory brought temporary solace to residents along the Utah-Nevada border, the fight to preserve water hasn’t stoppedBy Annette Garland, Contributor (Published at: —

April 30, 2020 — GUEST COLUMN: Las Vegas pipeline outcome offers new opportunity [By Chris Giunchigliani] — Rural and urban Nevada can both rest a little easier now that the massive pipeline project is not at the forefront of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans. But there is still plenty of work to do to protect and expand the water supply in Las Vegas while doing the same in rural parts of the state. As the nation’s driest state, we must ensure that our decisions in one region don’t harm another. For many years, that has not been the case — Las Vegas Sun [Print PDF]

April 16, 2020 — Water authority shelves controversial Las Vegas pipeline project — the Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a portion of its water rights. The decision means the water agency is shelving a development project that has long inflamed tensions between rural and urban Nevada, from the Legislature to the courts, and eclipsed nearly all other water issues in the state. The water authority first applied for the water rights in 1989, worried about water scarcity on the Colorado River and a growing population —
Read GBWN's Press Release
More Press Coverage —
More Press Coverage — AP

April 16, 2020 — Kane County [Utah] pulls out of Lake Powell Pipeline project ahead of federal review — The Kane County Water Conservancy District has decided to pull out of the Lake Powell Pipeline project, leaving Washington County as the sole proposed user of the pipeline going forward. The decision comes as the federal government continues and environmental review of the project. The Bureau of Reclamation is developing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The NEPA process will determine if the project will go forward and what route it will take —

March 18, 2020 — Thomas Mitchell: Rural water grab may be dead in the water — A state judge’s implacable ruling this past week may have finally forestalled attempts by the Clark County water agency to tap groundwater from White Pine, Nye and Lincoln counties. Senior District Judge Robert Estes rejected proposals by the state water engineer to grant groundwater rights to the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), calling the plan illogical, contrary to state water law, as well as arbitrary and capricious —

March 10, 2020 — Commissioner calls on water authority 'to look in a different direction' as District Court judge reaffirms decision to deny water for Las Vegas pipeline — A District Court judge has once again scuttled the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to obtain and pump rural groundwater about 300 miles from eastern Nevada, prompting one Clark County commissioner to call on the water authority “to look in a different direction.” Senior District Court Judge Robert Estes, presiding over the 7th Judicial District Court, ruled that the state’s water law does not support the project. The court order, filed on March 9, denied the water authority a portion of the rights for the project, which it said could result in “water mining” —
[Related Information — GBWN Press Release ]

March 10, 2020 — UPDATED: District court judge deals blow to Las Vegas pipeline plan — Rupert Steele says he’s looking forward to his next trip to Nevada’s rural Spring Valley. That’s because Steele, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, will be bearing good news for his relatives. He was talking about a recent ruling by District Court Judge Robert Estes that dealt a severe blow to a proposal to pipe groundwater from the Spring Valley and other spots in eastern Nevada to Las Vegas —

March 03, 2020 — Utah House reaffirms intent to develop Colorado River water — SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s booming population growth and rapid economic development means the need for more water, a higher level of conservation and wise development of water supplies, which are not infinite . . . Utah has not fully developed its full 23% allocation of the river, with much of that unused water flowing downstream to lower basin states —

February 27, 2020 — Coyote Springs gneral imporvemnet district to be dissolved [PDF Graphic] By Dave Maxwell

February 22, 2020 — Rising temperatures are taking a worsening toll on the Colorado River, study finds — Scientists have documented how climate change is sapping the Colorado River, and new research shows the river is so sensitive to warming that it could lose about one-fourth of its flow by 2050 as temperatures continue to climb —

January 08, 2020 — As 2020 kicks in, historic Colorado River Drought Plan will get its first test — This year, the first-ever Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan is set to launch, and water officials expect 2020 to bring unprecedented changes to the way the river is run, including cutbacks in water use by some states —

Photo Kyle Roerink - ED GBWN February 07, 2020 — Nevada NewsMakers —the guest is Kyle Roerink, Executive Director, Great Basin Water Network

January 03, 2020 — Is customer-based water conservation a drop in the bucket in Southern Nevada? — Reduced precipitation from climate change and disputes over Colorado River water rights loom over Nevada’s water supply, but the agency that oversees it says officials can manage the uncertainty with a boost from new conservation programs and legislative mandates —

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