Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BLM poised to OK Las Vegas plan to pump and pipe desert groundwater

In the war over water in the arid Great Basin, Las Vegas looks to have won another major battle over Snake Valley ranchers and others.

In a final Environmental Impact Statement released Friday, the federal Bureau of Land Management appears poised to grant the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) rights of way that would allow the pumping of ground water from four eastern Nevada valleys for transport via pipeline to Las Vegas.

The project carries a $15.5 billion price tag.

The final EIS, however, appears not to support groundwater pumping from Snake Valley along the Utah-
Nevada line. Still, critics say drilling in adjacent drainages will draw down the aquifer beneath Snake Valley. And the BLM document does not preclude SNWA from applying for Snake Valley water at a future date.

The BLM will make known its formal "record of decision" on the matter in October. Salt Lake Tribune