Utah, Nevada nearing deal on Snake Valley aquifer

So are Utah and Nevada going to team up to dewater Nevada’s Snake Valley, or is there just a bit less environmental destruction now planned?

Utah, Nevada nearing deal on Snake Valley aquifer. Groundwater » Greens fret Vegas project may dry up valley around Great Basin National Park. By Brandon Loomis. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Love that SLT subheadline. I guess I’m “fretful” today. 🙁

Here is an alert from the Great Basin Water Network. They are not happy about the Utah-Nevada deal.
As a note, Snake Valley runs for many miles along the Utah-Nevada border.

Jul. 27, 2009

Help stop Utah from signing away Snake Valley’s water to Las Vegas sprawl! Act today.

We understand the Utah negotiating team is close to an agreement with the State of Nevada which would allow the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to pump thousands of acre feet of water annually from underneath Utah’s Snake Valley to Las Vegas.

As governor, Gary Herbert will have the authority to approve or block any agreement. We are urging Utahns to call and/or email Herbert’s new transition Chief of Staff Jason Perry and tell him that NO Agreement should be signed at this time.

There is no urgency for any agreement. The Nevada State Engineer will not rule on the Snake Valley water applications for more than two years. If Utah were to sign an agreement now, it would undermine the integrity of the engineer’s decision-making and hearing process.

A premature agreement would undermine the positions of Millard County and the Utah Association of Counties, and place at risk people’s lives and prosperity in Snake Valley as well as create impacts to many other Utahns. It would also jeopardize the ongoing government (BLM) environmental study process before the people even have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the Las Vegas Water Grab.

Please call and/or email today!

The new Herbert Chief of Staff and Transition Team director is Jason Perry.

Email: jpperry@utah.gov
phone: 801-538-8700

The new Herbert Rural Affairs Adviser is Beverly Evans.

Email: bevans@utah.gov
phone: 801-538-8638

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Protect Snake Valley



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  1. jdubya Avatar

    These are the kind of knee jerk reactions that we have been forced to adopt due to government’s doing things in secret that are not in the citizen’s best interests.

    Styler may very well be right that this would be a good deal for Utah, but without releasing specifics, who is going to believe him? They want to jump the gun on this agreement before the science is in to “protect Utah” for what purpose? Why is this a window of negotiation that would not be there when the study is actually completed? In other words, what is the rush, and what do they know that the public does not? Why is it impossible for the gov’t to be transparent?

  2. kt Avatar

    Sounds like they want to sign a deal to make sure they get their share of a lot of non-existent, over-appropriated “paper water”. Before the real truth about how much less water there is – is known.

    I know I have been gone a lot – but where did Huntsman go?

    The politician that got the infrastructure for this wretched Water Grab into place was Mormon Harry Reid – in the Lincoln County Wilderness Bill. You can’t tell me that bigwigs in Utah Circles were not in on some of this from the beginning either. Since legitimizing piping water all over the place through de-watering aquifers under remote public lands is certainly an action that some in Utah would see as helping them do the same in their states. The bigwigs just couldn’t be seen shafting the rural folks, many of them in NV too LDS, outright. So an initial big hubbub. THen SNWA buys up more water rights and becomes the largest public lands welfare rancher in eastern Nevada and more of the voices of resistance go away. Then a quiet deal between NV and UT where they all agree that they all get all kinds of water – much of which doesn’t exist for any length of time??? But a lot of money can be made in the next couple of decades as then water is MINED and used up – and then gone.

    Also: HOW much of this too might have to do with cementing in rights to, and rights to move, big volumes of water to be used for industrial solar plants – and NOT housing development? Check out the BLM’s Solar Maps – WHO ALL has investments on the companies promoting these?

  3. kt Avatar

    Here is the link to the BLM website that has the UT and NV Solar EIS maps …


    The one kind of big industrial solar technology requires very large amounts of water.

    Already, one developer and water miner – separate from SNWA – who purchased the Geyser Ranch in Nevada to mine its water and export the water to a housing development at Coyote Springs – through use of a SNWA pipeline – is said to be planing to build a water-sucking solar plant, instead of a housing development. Now that the Housing Bubble has gone Bust – hes on to the industrial Solar Bubble. And yes, there is a very large public lands grazing allotment – Geyser Ranch – that just happened to go along with the water mine base property purchase.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan