In-state water resources
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has acquired and continues to develop a significant number of in-state groundwater resources. These groundwater resources are intended to provide Southern Nevada with a more balanced mix of Colorado River and non-Colorado River water than currently exists.
Many of these rights and applications stem from filings made by the Las Vegas Valley Water District in 1989, but others are the result of specific Water Authority efforts that were initiated in the mid to late 1990s. These include:
Garnet and Hidden Valleys
The Water Authority has a combined total of 2,200 acre-feet per year of groundwater rights in Garnet and Hidden Valleys. Most of these rights have been leased to dry-cooled power plants, which efficiently use Southern Nevada's scarce water resources. The remainder has been leased for use by the City of North Las Vegas for development in Garnet Valley.
Three Lakes Valley (North and South) and Tikaboo Valley (North and South)
Between 2003 and 2006, the Nevada State Engineer issued a series of rulings granting the Southern Nevada Water Authority rights to 10,605 acre-feet per year (AFY) of groundwater in these basins. The Water Authority is working to develop options for delivery of 8,018 AFY of the groundwater rights from Three Lakes Valley North and South and Tikaboo Valley South into the northwest portion of the Las Vegas Valley.
Indian Springs Valley
In 2004, the Southern Nevada Water Authority filed applications for 16,000 acre-feet per year of groundwater in Indian Springs Valley. The Water Authority intends to pursue development of those resources when needed to meet long-term demands.
Coyote Springs Valley
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has acquired 9,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) of permitted groundwater rights in Coyote Springs Valley. The Water Authority anticipates 9,000 AFY of imported intentionally created surplus will be developed as needed over the planning horizon.
In fall 2011, the Nevada State Engineer held a hearing on the Southern Nevada Water Authority's 1989 groundwater applications in Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys. A ruling was issued on March 22, 2012, granting SNWA 61,127 acre-feet per year (AFY) from Spring Valley and 22,861 AFY from Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys. These rights would be developed as part of the Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development Project.
Spring Valley groundwater will be developed in stages. The water rights for all four valleys are subject to biological and hydrological data collection; a hydrologic monitoring, mitigation and management program; a biologic monitoring plan; and a computer groundwater flow model that must be updated as directed by the State Engineer to help predict impacts.
Although the permits are subject to ongoing litigation, SNWA continues to maintain these resources and perform hydrologic and biologic monitoring to satisfy reporting requirements as set forth in the State Engineer-approved monitoring plans.
The Water Authority also holds groundwater rights to more than 8,000 AFY in Spring Valley through the acquisition of its Great Basin Ranch holdings.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority holds applications for approximately 50,678 acre-feet per year in Snake Valley.
The Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 requires that prior to "any transbasin diversion from groundwater basins located within both the State of Nevada and State of Utah, the State of Nevada and State of Utah shall reach an agreement regarding the division of water resources of those interstate ground-water flow system(s) from which water will be diverted and used by the project.” (Pub. L. No. 108-424, § 301(e)(3), 118 Stat. 2403, 2412). To date, the two states have not signed an agreement. The Water Authority's applications remain pending before the Nevada State Engineer.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority holds applications filed in 1989 for 111,496 acre-feet per year of groundwater in Railroad Valley North and South. The Water Authority intends to pursue development of these resources when needed to supply future demands.
Virgin River/Colorado River Augmentation
The Southern Nevada Water Authority was permitted 113,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) of Virgin River water rights in 1994. Under an agreement, the Water Authority transferred 5,000 AFY to the Virgin Valley Water District. In accordance with the 2007 Seven States' Agreement, the Water Authority has agreed to suspend development of these Virgin River surface water rights in exchange for agreement with the other Colorado River Basin states to cooperatively pursue the development of 75,000 AFY of permanent water supplies to augment the Colorado River for Nevada.