CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) – The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that the state has a right to manage groundwater for the purpose of preserving senior water rights and for the public interest as well as wildlife.

The ruling was made Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a co-respondent in the case, says the ruling will help determine the future of water management in the Silver State.

“This is a monumental victory for the conservation of water resources in a time of escalating climate change and drought,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center. “Nevada’s animals are already under stress from the lack of water resources, and our victory will help ensure that industry and developers don’t leave wildlife high and dry.”

The case centered around an aquifer that sustains the Muddy River in Clark County, The oasis provides habitat for an endangered species of fish known as the Moapa dace. The Muddy River also serves as a source of drinking water for the city of Las Vegas.

The proposed city of Coyote Springs applied for groundwater rights to pump water into the city located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Scientists, however, say doing so would deplete the springs the fish use to survive.

“The state engineer made the right call in ordering that groundwater and surface water be managed together for the benefit of the public interest, including wildlife,” said Donnelly. “The Moapa dace is protected by the Endangered Species Act, and that means the state can’t take actions that would drive the species toward extinction.”

The court remanded the case back to a District Court Judge for a ruling on whether the state’s order was based on substantial evidence.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *