Kane Springs Valley Water Rights
In 2005 the Lincoln County Water District (LCWD) submitted water rights applications in Kane Springs Valley as part of a proposed project to develop a water conveyance system to deliver water to Coyote Spring Valley. The purpose of the project is to (1) assist and support the needs of local communities in Lincoln County and the Coyote Spring Valley, (2) to meet the needs of future economic development within Lincoln County, and (3) to produce, purchase, wholesale, and transport water from sources inside and outside of Lincoln County to meet customer water needs across the region. The LCWD applied for a BLM right-of-way associated with these water applications. BLM developed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and issued a Record of Decision on November 19, 2008. The LCWD has not yet begun construction of the pipeline or associated facilities.
The Nevada State Engineer (NSE) held a hearing on LCWD's Kane Springs Valley water applications in April 2006. There were a total of 4 applications, totaling 17,375 afy. Two of the applications were protested by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Park Service filed protests on all four applications. The FWS and LCWD negotiated the Kane Springs Valley Stipulated Agreement, and FWS subsequently withdrew its protest. Both parties requested that a Monitoring, Management, and Mitigation Plan be included as part of the terms and conditions of any water right applications that are granted. The goal of the plan is to collectively manage the development of LCWD water rights in the Kane Springs Valley Hydrographic Basin and to avoid losses to senior water rights held by the FWS in the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Stipulated Agreement Monitoring Plans
The Monitoring, Management, and Mitigation Plan was appended to the Kane Springs Valley Stipulated Agreement (Exhibit A). The main points are summarized below:
- LCWD is required to record discharge and water levels in their production wells in Kane Springs Valley.
- LCWD, in consultation with the NSE, is required to locate and construct two monitoring wells down gradient from the Kane Springs Valley groundwater production well.
- LCWD will collect water quality data at each of their wells.
- To protect the Moapa Dace, if the average flow level decreases to 3.2 cubic feet per second (cfs) or less, the parties agree to meet as soon as possible to discuss and interpret all available data and plan for mitigation measures in the event flows continue to decline. If the average flow level is between 3.0 and 3.15 cfs, LCWD agrees to reduce pumping from all wells in Kane Springs Valley by 50% or to a pumping level no greater than 2,500 afy (whichever results in the lesser amount of pumping) until the flow exceeds 3.15 cfs. If the average flow lever is 3.0 cfs or less, LCWD agrees to cease pumping from all wells in Kane Springs Valley until the flow exceeds 3.0 cfs.
- LCWD will mitigate unreasonable adverse impacts either as agreed upon by the parties or after the NSE determines whether there are unreasonable adverse impacts due to LCWD pumping.
- LCWD, as part of their commitment to the recovery of the Moapa dace, will commit $50,000 annually for five years following the granting of the applications (the amount is to be renegotiated by the parties if less than 2,500 afy is granted).
Kane Springs Valley NSE Ruling
On February 2, 2007 the NSE issued a ruling on LCWD’s Kane Springs Valley Applications (NSE Ruling 5712) in which LCWD was granted a total combined duty of 1,000 afy.
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