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Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments in water fight

Thu, Sep 3, 2015 (4:09 p.m.)

CARSON CITY — Las Vegas and rural Nevada have been battling since 1989 over efforts to pump millions of gallons of water a year to Southern Nevada.

Another chapter played out before the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday over the decision of state Engineer Jacob King to permit the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pipe 61,000 acre feet of water from Spring Valley in White Pine County.

His ruling would allow the authority the right to an initial 38,000 acre feet a year from Spring Valley. After eight years, he would decide if 12,000 acre feet could be piped to Las Vegas; and after another eight years, if the full 61,127 acre feet could be taken without damaging existing water rights and the underground water source.

An acre foot of water is equal to 325,851 gallons.

Paul Hejmanowski, an attorney for the Mormon Church, which owns a ranch in White Pine County, told the court that King had overstepped his authority in ordering the staged withdrawal.

Daniel Polsenberg, an attorney for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, argued King did exactly what is permitted.

After the hearing, King said no date has been set for resuming hearings on the Water Authority’s application.

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