I-Team: Nevada Court Rules Against SNWA Water Rights - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Nevada Court Rules Against SNWA Water Rights

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White Pine Court House White Pine Court House

LAS VEGAS -- A Nevada judge in White Pine County Court has rejected plans for a controversial pipeline that would draw water from rural valleys and send it to Las Vegas.

Seventh District Court Senior Judge Robert Estes ruled Wednesday that there were flaws in the state water engineer's findings. He said the engineer's report was "not in the public interest" and "arbitrary and "capricious." 

The Southern Nevada Water Authority water sought rights to the water in three northern Nevada rural valleys. SNWA officials say the water rights are critical to build a pipeline that would supply Las Vegas with more drinking water in the future.

The Great Basin Water Network, an environmental group, is claiming a victory after the ruling. The group claims the pumping of water would ruin fragile ecosystems and suck the valleys dry.

"We've really questioned the fox guarding the hen house. The state engineer, the Bureau of Land Management have all put undue emphasis in the findings and reports from the Southern Nevada Water Authority rather than looking at independent science," said Rob Mrowka with the Great Basin Water Network.

The state's engineer's office says it is disappointed by the court ruling and says it made a  "well-reasoned decision based on substantial evidence and Nevada water law."

SNWA says the court decision requires the state engineer to do more studies about water rights and it is confident that can be done.

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