Dec 28, 2000

Las Vegas Board Authorizes Water Application Protest

The Las Vegas Valley Water District board has authorized its staff to protest the tapping of a deep aquifer in the district, which an American-Indian band wants to claim rights to for a proposed power plant.
The board's decision was a "procedural move" to give the district standing in hearings before the state engineer, said General Manager Pat Mulroy. The state engineer can withdraw the application by the Moapa Paiutes to tap the aquifer.
"I would hope we can find some negotiable resolutions," Mulroy said.
The Paiutes' application doesn't necessarily pose a threat to the district's groundwater supplies but presents some challenges.
"There is still some discussion between technical people as to whether there is 7,000 acre-feet" of water that can be drawn from the deep aquifer beneath the Moapa River Indian Reservation, Mulroy said.
The Moapa Paiutes and Calpine Corp. of San Jose, Calif., plan to build a natural gas-fired electric power plant that could generate $200 million over the next 35 years. The 7,000 acre-feet of water per year that the Paiutes want to draw from the aquifer -- enough for 28,000 Southern Nevadans--would be needed to cool turbine systems in the proposed plant.
(Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)