Nevada Officials Challenge Water Plan

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – County and city officials in northwest Nevada want to stop plans to divide water from the Truckee River between California and Nevada, saying that officials failed to conduct a meaningful environmental impact study on the proposal.

     Churchill County and Fallon, Nev. called the Truckee River Operating Agreement’s January 2008 environmental impact study “overlong, convoluted and needlessly abstruse,” lacking in “scientific integrity and soundness,” and say it “omitted key environmental impact analyses” by failing to analyze overall water use, supply and consumption of the river’s water.
     Local government officials also say the study failed to account for population growth, extended droughts and global warming.
     The Truckee River Operating Agreement was approved in September by California, Nevada and federal officials in an attempt to settle a longstanding dispute over who owns the water from the river, which flows 100 miles along the California side of Lake Tahoe and into Pyramid Lake, about 30 miles northeast of Reno.
     According to media reports, the agreement granted California two-thirds of Lake Tahoe’s water, while Nevada got one-third. It also gave Nevada 90 percent of the Truckee River’s water, while California got 10 percent. Eighty percent of the Carson River was given to Nevada, while California got the rest.
     Churchill County and Fallon officials asked for extensions to review the plan but say they were denied.
     Plaintiffs worry that the plan would seriously reduce drinking water supplies and hurt groundwater resources in the area that that could threaten the economy of “high-desert farmlands.” They also worry about the wildlife in the area’s wetlands.
     Plaintiffs want a declaration that the environmental impact study did not comply with federal regulations, and want the plan halted.
     They are represented by Michael Van Zandt with Hanson Bridgett.

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