Water Rights Ruling Puts Thousands of Permits in Question

A recent water rights ruling in Nevada could potentially endanger the validity of nearly 15,000 water rights in the state dating back to 1947. As a result, new applications for water rights are flooding state offices.
February 5, 2010, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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The State Supreme Court ruled recently that a plan to divert water from the northern part of Nevada down to the Las Vegas area had not followed the proper application process. Because the process had taken longer than a year, the court found the in violation of state law and ruled them invalid. Many other water rights application processes have also taken more than one year, and could also be ruled invalid.

"If the ruling winds up nullifying every application for water that took more than a year to be acted on by the state, Acting State Engineer Jason King warned that as many as 14,500 water rights issued between 1947 and 2002 could be affected.

"I can't even fathom it," King said. "There would just be so much litigation. It would be gridlock."

Already the decision has touched off a tidal wave of paperwork at the state engineer's office in Carson City."

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Published on Thursday, February 4, 2010 in Las Vegas Review-Journal
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