1) LAS VEGAS’S MAIN WATER SUPPLIER
2) PATRICIA MULROY
3) WATER RIGHTS IN NEVADA
4) THE PIPELINE
• Supporters and Opponents
5) THE BATTLE FOR WATER
It is the largest man-made
reservoir in the United
It was formed in 1935.
Mead's chief beneficiary
is Las Vegas.
The lake provides 90% of
the city water.
Colorado River is the main
supplier of water to Lake
According to a 2008 study:
“there is a 50% chance Lake
Mead... will be dry by 2021."
The Federal Bureau of
Reclamation predicts the
Colorado will face water
shortages 58 to 73% of the
time by 2050
Pat Mulroy served as general manager
of the Southern Nevada Water
Authority (SNWA) from 1993 until
retiring in February 2014.
Mulroy has proposed building an
enormous pipeline to pump billions of
gallons of "unused" water from remote
valleys in central-eastern Nevada to Las
Terry Katzer: a USGS groundwater specialist
In 1989, the Las Vegas Water District filed applications
with the state engineer for "unclaimed, unused"
groundwater in 30 basins in rural east-central Nevada
Mulroy spent $78 million to by 7 ranches in White Pine
County, along with their water rights.
Mulroy's Idea: Where It Comes From
Nevada Water Law is based on 2 principles:
1) Prior Appropriation
2) Beneficial Use
All of the water in Nevada is owned by the
In Nevada, water rights are assigned for a
Water Rights In Nevada:
The pipeline itself will take only 3 years to build.
The first leg will extend north from Las Vegas to
Delamar and Dry Lake Valleys.
The pipe will then reach into Cave Valley, Spring
Valley, and ultimately up to Snake Valley.
The system of pipes, pumps, and storage reservoirs
will stretch about 300 miles and cost between $2
billion and $3.5 billion.
Characteristics Of the Pipeline:
The two basins that provide water to the pipeline:
Spring Valley and Snake Valley
They are in White Pine County
Almost every ranch along the
Spring Valley floor has been
sold out to the SNWA
Because the agency has characterized
this water as "unused".
Reliance on Western water law to
argue that native plants, such as
greasewood, are not "legally entitled"
to the valley's water as they have no
Reasons for carrying out the
diversion of water:
Lack of food to support animal life, as a result of
killing native plants off.
Dust storms due to drying of hydric soils and loss
Two Possible Adverse
• Americans Indian Tribes
• Rural People
• Casino Operators
Las Vegas has applied to withdraw 90.000 acre-feet a
year of water from Spring Valley.
In 2007, Nevada state engineer Tracy Taylor granted
Las Vegas the use of 40.000 acre-feet of Spring Valley
water a year, for 10 years.
Opponents challenged a state senate ruling that had
denied pipeline protesters a hearing within a year of
the close of the protest period, as is required by law.
The Battle For Water
In 2008, State Engineer Taylor granted Las Vegas
almost 90.000 acre-feet of water from its first three
claims in south of Snake Valley.
In August 2009, Utah governor Gary Herbert agreed
to allow the SNWA to pipe 36.000 acre-feet of water
a year from the Great Basin to Las Vegas.
In October 2009 Nevada district court struck down
Tracy Taylor’s rulings on 3 of 4 rural basins along Las
In 2010 the Nevada Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that Tracy Taylor and state engineers
who preceded him had violated the due-process.
Utah suspended its water-sharing agreement with