Big Water Battle Brewing With Snake Valley, Utah - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Big Water Battle Brewing With Snake Valley, Utah

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The lawsuits will be aimed at stopping a drinking water pipeline the Southern Nevada Water Authority says the valley needs. The lawsuits will be aimed at stopping a drinking water pipeline the Southern Nevada Water Authority says the valley needs.
The battle has been all but won for approvals of pipelines from Spring Valley and Lincoln County, but a pipeline in Snake Valley has meet resistance from the state of Utah. The battle has been all but won for approvals of pipelines from Spring Valley and Lincoln County, but a pipeline in Snake Valley has meet resistance from the state of Utah.

A new battle is brewing over Las Vegas water. This time it's pitting the Southern Nevada Water Authority against the state of Utah.

The water authority says if we don't bring water in from other sources, we will run out. But there's a huge challenge to fixing the problem.

BLOG: Seize the chance to post your comments, concerns, and ideas on the water shortage facing the Las Vegas Valley.

It may actually be the "least chub" fish that kills a drinking water pipeline plan. The fish is not that big, but it will be the focus of lawsuits to protect it and other endangered species in the Snake Valley area.

The lawsuits will be aimed at stopping a drinking water pipeline the Southern Nevada Water Authority says the valley needs.

Falling water levels at Lake Mead forced SNWA to aggressively pursue more drinking water. That led to a pipeline plan bringing water from Spring Valley and Snake Valley in White Pine County, plus water from Lincoln County.

The pipelines will complete a puzzle, which will ensure the valley has enough water for the future needs of Las Vegas, according to SNWA General Manager Pat Mulroy.

Mulroy said, "We are on a tight timeline."

The battle has been all but won for approvals of pipelines from Spring Valley and Lincoln County, but a pipeline in Snake Valley has meet resistance from the state of Utah.

Pat Mulroy continued, "If the state of Utah is willing to get serious and not see the negotiating process as a way to stop the project, we have serious discussions. Then, I am sure cooler heads will prevail and an agreement can be reached."

Mulroy says Southern Nevada needs the Snake Valley water by 2015 to cover anticipated shortages. But now a local non-profit group is siding with Utah.

Launce Rake with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada says pumping the amount of water Las Vegas needs from the area would lower the water table at least 50 feet.

Rake said, "There is no desert vegetation with root systems that deep. So, what does that mean? The vegetation dies."

Rake says then the dominos fall and no food means the animals will die, farmers crops will dry up and ranchers in the area won't be able to support their cattle.

"That is a huge area of the country to be affected by such a massive pumping program," the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada spokesman continued. 

Pat Mulroy says if negotiations with Utah continue to stall she will ask the Nevada state engineer for the go ahead with the pipeline anyway.

The non-profit says Mulroy needs to have a serious discussion about limiting building in Las Vegas and implementing deeper conservation methods to get the water we need. They are planning several lawsuits based on endangered species in the Snake Valley.

This battle may end up in court for a long time.

In another water-related story, the Las Vegas Valley Water District approved water for a new Lincoln County development called Coyote Springs.

The water district will manage the water system for the new development.

Bringing water to Coyote Springs is one of the requirements set by Lincoln County commissioners in order to allow a water pipeline to be built through Lincoln County to Las Vegas.

E-mail your comments to Reporter Edward Lawrence.

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