In-state water resources
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has acquired and continues to develop in-state water resources in southern and eastern Nevada.
Many of the applications filed for water rights have been permitted by the Nevada State Engineer in accordance with Nevada water law, while others require further review and analysis. The priority and use of these resources is discussed in chapter 3 of the Water Resource Plan.
In 2012, the Nevada State Engineer issued a ruling granting the Water Authority 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 in stages as part of the Clark, Lincoln, and White Pine counties Groundwater Development Project.
In response to a 2013 District Court decision, the Nevada State Engineer scheduled a second hearing to reconsider the volume of water that was granted to the Water Authority in 2012. The hearing was conducted in 2017.
In August 2018, the State Engineer issued a ruling which denied Southern Nevada's applications for groundwater resources in the Spring Valley, Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar basins. The ruling makes clear that there is water available in these basins for appropriation but the State Engineer's office is prevented from doing so by the scope of the remand instructions, which imposed unprecedented requirements into the science of water appropriation in Nevada. The ruling also approved the Water Authority's monitoring, management, and mitigation plan.
The ruling made clear that the State Engineer's Office believes that the remand order runs counter to its statutory authority to manage water resources in Nevada. It served as a prerequisite for the State Engineer to challenge aspects of the remand order as the legal process moves forward to District Court and the Nevada Supreme Court.
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.
Garnet and Hidden Valleys
The Water Authority has a combined total of 2,200 acre-feet per year of groundwater permitted rights in Garnet and Hidden valleys. Most of these rights have been leased to dry-cooled power plants. The remaining resources are anticipated to be developed as needed within these valleys.
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 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 Water Authority filed applications for groundwater in Indian Springs Valley. The Water Authority intends to pursue development of those resources when needed to meet long-term demands.
The Water Authority holds applications for water in Snake Valley.
The Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 requires the states of Nevada and Utah to reach an agreement regarding the division of water resources in Snake Valley, which is located in both states. To date, the two states have not signed an agreement and the Water Authority's applications remain pending before the Nevada State Engineer.
The Water Authority holds applications filed in 1989 for groundwater in Railroad Valley North and South. The Water Authority intends to pursue development of these resources when needed to supply future demands.