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Public hearing scheduled April 14 to move water rights

The state water engineer has scheduled a public hearing in Pahrump on April 14 to allow for the movement of water rights from the Pahrump Valley floor to the Pahrump and Manse alluvial fans as a means of providing “appropriators increased flexibility in the management of water resources” in the Pahrump Basin.

The state water engineer has historically prohibited the transfer of existing water rights from the valley to the fans with the intent to slow or reverse the decline of aquifer levels on the valley floor. However, recent data has suggested that there is poor connectivity between the fan and the floor water sources.

Recent data, according to the proposed order submitted by the state water engineer with the notice of hearing to Nye County, also suggests that though pumping has decreased in the Pahrump Basin since 2009 that any further appropriations of groundwater be curtailed, with exceptions.

Nye County Water District liaison Darrell Lacy said that any application to move water rights from the floor to the fan should include an impact analysis for surrounding wells.

The proposed order further states that the water engineer has found that the Pahrump Basin is in need of “additional administration.”

The assertion coincides with the proposed legislation to implement a water management plan in a more expedient time frame than the 10 years currently allowed following a designation of a critical or active management area.

The proposed legislation, revised Senate Bills 65 and 81, are scheduled to come before the committee on government affairs next week, according to Sen. Pete Goicoechea.

Notification to the Nye County Board of County Commissioners indicates that the hearing will take place on Tuesday, April 14 at 10 a.m. at Comission Chambers, located at 2100 E. Walt Williams Drive in Pahrump.

Any application to move water rights still will need an analysis of the impact on surrounding wells.

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