Pipeline Foes Win Another Battle, But Water Wars Will Never End

By Kyle Roerink, Great Basin Water Network


By now you’ve likely heard the good news about the Las Vegas Pipeline. It is true that SNWA and the State Engineer will not appeal Judge Robert Estes’ scathing decision that affirmed what PLAN and others have been saying for decades: The pipeline is illegal.


We can now rest a little easier and breathe a sigh of relief.

The success of Great Basin Water Network in the courts, however, does not spell the end of our effort to protect water resources in the nation’s driest state. GBWN, White Pine County, the Duckwater Shoshone, Ely Shoshone , and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation still have work to do and need any support you can offer.


Here’s what remains in our battle:

  • Some 200,000 acre feet annually worth of water applications with the state remain in Snake, Railroad, Three Lakes, Tikaboo and Indian Springs Valleys. That equates to more than 65 billion gallons of water annually that could be lost. These locations include Great Basin National Park and the Death Valley Flow System, the Duckwater Shoshone Reservation, and other pristine places.
  • The SNWA still has an application for a Right of Way with the Bureau of Land Management for the pipeline and ancillary facilities to transport water across federal lands.
  • SNWA still owns seven ranches in Spring Valley and has agreements that muzzle federal agencies.
  • Tribal sacred sites and resources remain unprotected.
    Changes to Nevada water law could benefit large-scale water users like SNWA of future water grabbers.


Please tell Southern Nevada officials that SNWA must withdrawal all of its applications in rural Nevada and revoke its BLM right of way application. If SNWA really wants to abandon the pipeline, that’s what’s necessary.


It’s important to note that SNWA is chartering a promising course for the near future. The Water Authority is poised to soon vote on a proposal that promised more conservation efforts and collaborations with coastal California. This is welcome news. We’ve been asking them to do it for 30 years.


Lastly, in this line of work our victories are temporary while our opponents victories are ultimately ones that last forever.