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COMMENTARY: Lets all support Senate Bill 81

Senate Bill 81 has language that will help reduce unnecessary pumping of water by water rights owners who are required to protect their water rights under the “use it or lose it” water law.

Water right owners, my family included, all over Pahrump (and Nevada) are up against this requirement. We have seen some irrigation on old farms increase in the last few years. My estimate is about 3,000 acre feet of water is being pumped to protect these water rights this year.

The “use it or lose it” law is outdated. Let’s change it.

Pahrump has more domestic wells per square mile than any other basin in the state of Nevada. Most of our domestic wells are on the valley floor. Most of our farms are pumping water from the valley floor. Reduce some of this pumping and all of us, including domestic well owners, will benefit.

Hundreds of hours have been dedicated to this subject by both the Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee and the Nye County Water District Governing Board during the last 15 months. SB 81 has some of the same ideas that these boards are supporting.

SB 81 will help reduce the pumping of water with new language that allows conservation practices for water right holders and SB 81 also provides additional tools for local input to customize a plan for our valley.

Contact your county commissioner, our Assemblyman James Oscarson at James.oscarson@asm.state.nv.us, Senator Pete Goicoechea at Pete.Goicoechea@sen.state.nv.us, and the chairman of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee John Ellision at John.Ellison@ asm.state.nv.us.

Support SB 81. Thank you.

Dan Harris is a Pahrump resident and developer.

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