Water rights law still cause for concern
I recently read a headline in the Mirror, and a short section of the article, while frequenting a local business. I was surprised at first, then upon further reflection was appalled.
The WDGB has yet to find a way to have the portion of unused water rights in Basin 162 returned to the state for alleged non-beneficial use, and now they are going to require water rights for ‘new domestic wells.’ The last time I looked, domestic wells were allowed 2 acre feet of water, by statute *(LAW) without the requirement of water rights from the state engineer’s office. Has the law changed?
I suspect the law has indeed not been changed, as the state engineer, and others, tried to change it in the last legislative session, and failed. Now the WDGB, by its actions, has given the SE ammunition to try once again to have the law changed.
Besides this, they have effectively made the unused *(and as yet unreturned) water rights more valuable to those who hold those rights in trust for the people of Nevada. *(Remember the rights belong to the state, its people, and are provided as a trust as long as beneficial use is established and maintained).
I do not know what prompted the WDGB to make this suggestion, and vote on it. Perhaps there is some underlying plan to decrease the over-allocation of Basin 162 by moving water rights to others. Perhaps it will change the definition of beneficial use, as domestic households do show a preference.
Also, what about those owners of undeveloped land that purchased it with the understanding, and the backing by Nevada law, that they would be able to install and use their own domestic wells.
These people may have owned their property for well over 30 years, like myself, and paid their taxes on time, and generally been good citizens of the state, now only to find that promises made are now denied.
Time will eventually tell why this action was deemed necessary. It will also tell who will benefit from these changes.
Dr. K.E. Searles,
Former member WDGB