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Nevada State Office
Release Date: 08/03/12
Contacts: JoLynn Worley , 775-861-6515 ,
News Release No. NSO 2012-35

BLM's Final EIS Available on Southern Nevada Water Authority Groundwater Development Project Right-of-Way

Reno, Nev.—The availability of the Clark, Lincoln and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development and Utility Right-of-Way Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was announced in the August 3, 2012 Federal Register.  The document analyzes a Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) proposal for a system of regional water facilities and pipelines to transport water to the Las Vegas Valley.  The Bureau of Land Management's action is to either grant or deny the request for rights-of-way (ROW) across public land.  The BLM will issue a Record of Decision after a 60-day availability of the final EIS. 

The preferred alternative identified in the EIS is defined as Alternative F with a provision that no more groundwater than what the Nevada State Engineer granted on March 22, 2012 would be available for pumping in future. This alternative also includes an alternative alignment for the power line across Steptoe Valley east of Ely.

The project as envisioned by the preferred alternative would provide for the development of the first phase (main conveyance pipeline and associated facilities) of a multi-year project which would eventually deliver groundwater from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar hydrographic basins to the Las Vegas area. Although water rights, pumping rates, volume of water proposed for transport to the Las Vegas Valley, and the point of use of water proposed for transport across public land is outside the jurisdiction of the BLM, these issues are included in the EIS. Water rights and pumping rates are under the purview of the Nevada State Engineer. Water distribution and use associated with the importation of water in the Las Vegas Valley are addressed by local and regional planning agencies in accordance with Nevada Revised Statutes.

The final EIS (under the preferred alternative) addresses the construction and operation of a system of regional water facilities which include up to 263 miles of a buried water pipeline; 280 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV), 69 kV and 25 kV overhead power lines; six electrical substations; three pressure reducing facilities; two pumping stations; five regulating tanks; a 40 million-gallon-per-day buried storage reservoir; and a 165 million-gallon-per-day water treatment facility.

Whenever possible, the proposed project facilities would be constructed within utility corridors established by the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 and the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998. An approved ROW is contingent on compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  Establishment of the utility corridors has no bearing on water rights.

Water rights applications in Snake Valley are pending with the Nevada State Engineer.  The Nevada State Engineer recently issued rulings on the SNWA’s water rights applications in Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys.  The Nevada State Engineer is solely responsible for the adjudication and permitting process to allow the development of those waters.  This EIS does not address the permitting or authorization of water rights.

Request a printed copy or a CD of the document from the BLM Nevada State Office, 775-861-6681, or An electronic version of the document is available at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Nevada State Office   1340 Financial Blvd. Reno, NV 89502  

Last updated: 04-14-2015