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Water Authority Throws In Towel

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Scott Thompson via Wikimedia Commons

White Pine County's water won't flow to Las Vegas after the Southern Nevada Water Authority gave up on plans to build a pipeline to draw groundwater from rural Nevada.

A decades-long water war that pitted thirsty Las Vegas against rural and environmental interests ended quietly this week.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority announced in a statement that it would not appeal court decisions that limited the groundwater it could pump from Lincoln and White Pine counties in eastern Nevada.

That effectively killed plans to build a 300-mile pipeline to bring billions of gallons of water a year from rural Nevada. The idea was first proposed by Southern Nevada officials in 1989, predating the 1991 creation of the water authority.

The news was cheered by opponents of the project, who did not want to declare complete victory until all pipeline-related disputes are resolved.

“Eastern Nevada’s fragile ecosystems and rural communities have won a reprieve,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity, “but the fight isn’t over as long as pipeline permits are still alive.”

Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, agrees. “It’s an excellent first step,” he told KNPR, “but we’re not popping the champagne bottles yet.”

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Kyle Roerink, executive director, Great Basin Water Network

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