The availability of the Clark, Lincoln and White Pine Counties Groundwater Development and Utility Right-of-Way Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is announced in the June 10, 2011 Federal Register. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) action is to either grant or deny the request for rights-of-way across public land. The draft document analyzes a Southern Nevada Water Authority proposal for a system of regional water facilities and pipelines to transport water to the Las Vegas Valley. The BLM is seeking public comments on the draft EIS and will hold public meetings in Nevada and Utah during a 90-day comment period which ends September 8, 2011.
The project, as proposed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, 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 the Spring, Snake, 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 draft EIS addresses the construction and operation of a system of regional water facilities which include 306 miles of a buried water pipeline; 323 miles of 230 kilovolt (kV), 69 kV and 25 kV overhead power lines; seven electrical substations; three pressure reducing facilities; five pumping stations; six 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 right-of-way 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, Spring, Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar valleys are pending with the Nevada State Engineer. 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.
Meeting dates, times and locations will be announced at least 15 days in advance. Copies of the document are available from the BLM Nevada State Office, 775-861-6681 or [email protected]. An electronic version of the document is available at www.blm.gov/5w5c.
Comments on the draft EIS may be mailed: Penny Woods, BLM Project Manager, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520, faxed: 775-861-6689, or emailed: [email protected].