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Southern Nevada Water Authority

In-state Water Resources

In-state Water Resources

SNWA has a number of groundwater
permits and applications in Nevada.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) 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 SNWA efforts that were initiated in the mid to late 1990s. These include:

Garnet and Hidden Valleys

The SNWA has a combined total of 2,200 acre-feet per year (AFY) of groundwater rights in Garnet and Hidden Valleys. The majority 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 SNWA rights to 10,605 AFY of groundwater in these basins. The SNWA 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, SNWA filed applications for 16,000 AFY of groundwater in Indian Springs Valley. The availability and development of a portion or all of this resource is subject to further research and analysis and future decision by the State Engineer.

Coyote Spring Valley

SNWA has acquired 9,000 AFY of permitted groundwater rights in Coyote Spring Valley. The SNWA anticipates 9,000 AFY of imported intentionally created surplus will be developed as needed over the planning horizon.

Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave Valleys

In fall 2011, the Nevada State Engineer held a hearing on SNWA's 1989 groundwater applications in Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys. A ruling was issued on March 22, 2012, granting SNWA 61,127 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. In response to a remand order from the Seventh Judicial District Court of Nevada, the Nevada State Engineer held another hearing in fall 2017 to address specific issues associated with the groundwater rights; a decision from the Nevada State Engineer is still pending.

The groundwater will be developed in stages. The water rights for all four valleys are subject to biological and hydrological data collection; hydrologic and environmental monitoring, management, and mitigation; and a computer groundwater flow model that must be updated as directed by the State Engineer to help predict impacts.

SNWA also holds groundwater rights to more than 8,000 AFY in Spring Valley through the acquisition of its Great Basin Ranch holdings.

Snake Valley

SNWA holds applications for approximately 50,678 AFY 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. SNWA's applications remain pending before the Nevada State Engineer.

Railroad Valley

The SNWA holds applications filed in 1989 for 111,496 AFY of groundwater in Railroad Valley North and South. The SNWA intends to pursue development of these resources when needed to supply future demands.

Virgin River/Colorado River Augmentation

The SNWA was permitted 113,000 AFY of Virgin River water rights in 1994. Under an agreement, SNWA transferred 5,000 AFY to the Virgin Valley Water District. In accordance with the 2007 Seven States' Agreement, the SNWA 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.

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