Updates – What do we do for you? See Below 2021 Legislatures New Bills

2021 Nevada Assembly Considers Water Related Bills – The Nevada Assembly Committee on Natural Resources (“Committee”) is considering a handful of water related bills in the upcoming 2021 legislative session. While we are continually receiving notice of new proposed bills, we wanted to provide a brief summary on the first few we reviewed.  Assembly Bills (“AB”) 5, 6, and 15 were prefilled for the 2021 legislative session on November 18, 2020. If passed the bills with effect procedures currently required for temporary change applications and judicial review of Nevada Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer (“State Engineer”) decisions.  AB 16 also proposes reorganization of the Colorado River Commission.                                                                                                                             

Assembly Bill 5 –   AB 5 proposes various new provisions relating to judicial review of State Engineer orders and decisions. As drafted, Nevada Revised Statute (“NRS”) 533.450 allows a person aggrieved by a State Engineer action to seek judicial review in the nature of an appeal.  AB 5 limits circumstances under which a person can seek judicial review. Under AB 5 the State Engineer decision being reviewed must be (1) a formal order, ruling or decision that is a final decision in writing; and (2) must materially affect the person’s interest.  AB 5 also clarifies that the judicial review of State Engineer decisions shall apply civil appellate practices.                                  

We have provided the link below for you to submit your comments. Click on “Submit Opinion” at right.                                                                                                AB5 Meetings (state.nv.us)                                

Assembly Bill 6 –   AB 6 contains proposed revisions of the laws governing temporary change applications for appropriated water.  NRS 533.325 requires a water right holder wishing to make a temporary change to place of use, point of diversion, or manner of use of their water to file an application with the State Engineer.  NRS 533.345 requires the State Engineer to hold a hearing if the State Engineer determines that the temporary change may not be in the public interest or may impair existing right. AB 6 proposes that the hearing under NRS 533.345 be discretionary. This will allow the State Engineer to either hold a hearing or make a decision absent one.

We have provided the link below for you to submit your comments. Click on “Submit Opinion” at right.

AB6 Meetings (state.nv.us)

December 2019

Public Hearing at the Nye County Commissioners Meeting 10:00 – For Possible Action – Public Hearing, discussion and deliberation on Appeal of the Nye County Water District Governing Board’s December 9, 2019 decision to raise the per parcel fee in Basin 162 to $35.00 a year for a minimum of 3 years for funding of the carbonate aquifer exploratory project. The Board may affirm, modify or reverse the decision.

Commissioner Koenig listed the additional back-up as follows :
• Nye County Water District Agenda Information Form, item 9, dated December 29, 2019, and the back-up for that item.
• Nye County Water District Board minutes from December 29, 2019.
• December 18, 2019, appeal letter and reasons submitted by the Private Well Owners Cooperative Association of Nye County.

Approximately 50,000 taxable parcels exist in Basin 162 with a $30.00 per parcel, per year fee this would increase taxes for the beginning phases of the project to $1,5000,000.00 for one year for a total of $4,550,000.00 for the three (3) years of the first phase of the project.

December 18, 2019

Private Well Owners Cooperative Association of Nye County Post Office Box 2073 Pahrump Nevada 89041-2073

“Every Drop Counts”

Dear Commissioners,

Please find attached our Appeal to the Nye County Board of Commissioners on the decision made on December 9, 2019 by the Nye County Water District Governing Board to vote raising the per parcel fee of all parcels served by Basin 162.

Our two-page appeal, as per your request at the December 17, 2019 meeting during your hearing on this matter is attached, and we believe that it was your decision to place this matter on the agenda for the Janurary14, 2020 Nye County Commissions meeting. 

You will see in our appeal on page 2 and 3 we request that you reverse the decision of The Nye County Water District Governing Board at your January 14, 2020 meeting.

Matthew H Burg

President

APPEAL TO THE NYE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Date:  December 18, 2019

Applicant’s Name:  Private Well Owners of Nye County.

Applicant’s Address: Post Office Box 2073, Pahrump Nevada. 89041-2073.

Decision Being Appealed:  The Nye County Water District Governing Board voted to fund a carbonate aquifer exploratory project by raising the per parcel fee of all parcels served by Basin 162 in the amount of $30.00 “Minimum” per year for three (3) years.

Date Decision Was Made:  December 9, 2019.

Reasons why the decision of The Nye County Water District Governing Board should be reversed:

1. The Project is outside the Nye County boundaries solely within Clark County.

2. The project is completely exploratory with no significant proof that water exists.

3. The tax is a taxation without representation.

4. This is only phase one of many future phases.

5. This will create open-ended funding falling on the backs of parcel owners in Basin 162 for future phases.

6. This will do nothing more than to assist Southern Nevada Water Authority by giving them the knowledge of possible water and would set this project up for a future adverse water grab in Basin 162.

7. There was no discussion as to when and if water is found who will have the permits for water.

8. Who will control the water if any is found?

9. If there is water found there will most definitely be an acceleration of pumpage in the name of development.

10. Larger developments over the last few years have caused most of the issues on added useage of water in Basin 162. When do we just say NO?

Matt Burg,

President.

History of Nevada Water Law – Basin 162

1. BULLENTIN 46 – EVOLUTION OF NEVADA’S WATER LAWS, AS RELATED TO THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF THE STATE’S WATER RESOURCES, FROM 1866 TO ABOUT 1960.

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/publications/water%20resources%20bulletins/Bulletin46.pdf

2.

ORDER 176 – 11th March 1941

Designation

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/176o.pdf

3.

ORDER 193 – 15th January 1948

Extending the Designated Area of Pahrump Artesian Basin

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/193o.pdf

4.

ORDER 205 – 23rd January 1953

Extending the Designated Area of the Artesian Basin

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/205o.pdf

5.

ORDER 955 – 26th October 1987

Amendment

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/955o.pdf

6.

ORDER 206 – 4th May 1993

METER – Directing the installation of measuring devices in the Pahrump Artesian Basin

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/206o.pdf

7.

ORDER 1107 – 8th November 1994

ORDER – CURTAILMENT

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/1107o.pdf

8.

ORDER 381 – 1st June 1997

Notice of Curtailment of Water Appropriation

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/381o.pdf

9.

ORDER 1293 – 19th December, 2017

ORDER FOR DOMESTIC WELL CREDIT IN THE PAHRUMP VALLEY HYDROGRAPHIC BASIN (162)

http://images.water.nv.gov/images/Orders/1293o.pdf

10.

AMENDED ORDER 1293A – 12th July, 2018

PROHIBITING THE DRILLING OF NEW DOMESTIC WELLS IN THE PAHRUMP ARTESIAN BASIN (10-162), NYE COUNTY, NEVADA.

http://www.nyecountywaterdistrict.net/DocumentCenter/View/119/1293Ao1?bidId=

Education

March 24, 2020

The Well Owners Association will present a 15-20 minute program each month dedicated to educating not only its members but the Basin 162 Community.

Each program will be dedicated to many of the following concerns that our community as a whole faces.

WATER CONSERVATION           WATER QUALITY           TESTING OUR WELLS

GROUNDWATER ISSUES AND CONCERNS                         WELL LOGS

WATER CONTAMINATION                     SEPTIC SYSTEMS

PROTECTING THE AQUIFERS                        WATER TREATMENT

MAINTAINING WELLS

All meetings are open to the public and are held each month at our Membership Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

1st Wednesday

Pahrump Valley Museum

401 East Basin Ave.

Pahrump, NV 89060

Executive Order on Modernizing America’s infrastructure.

Issued on: October 13, 2020

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. Abundant, safe, and reliable supplies of water are critical to quality of life for all Americans, fueling our economy, providing food for our citizens and the world, generating energy, protecting public health, supporting rich and diverse wildlife and plant species, and affording recreational opportunities. While America is blessed with abundant natural resources, those resources must be effectively managed, and our water infrastructure must be modernized to meet the needs of current and future generations.

Executive departments and agencies (agencies) that engage in water-related matters, including water storage and supply, water quality and restoration activities, water infrastructure, transportation on our rivers and inland waterways, and water forecasting, must work together where they have joint or overlapping responsibilities. This order will ensure that agencies do that more efficiently and effectively to improve our country’s water resource management, modernize our water infrastructure, and prioritize the availability of clean, safe, and reliable water supplies.

Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to:

(a) Improve coordination among agencies on water resource management and water infrastructure issues;

(b) Reduce unnecessary duplication across the Federal Government by coordinating and consolidating existing water related task forces, working groups, and other formal cross-agency initiatives, as appropriate;

(c) Efficiently and effectively manage America’s water resources and promote resilience of America’s water-related infrastructure;

(d) Promote integrated planning among agencies for Federal investments in water-related infrastructure; and

(e) Support workforce development and efforts to recruit, train, and retain professionals to operate and maintain America’s essential drinking water, wastewater, flood control, hydropower, and delivery and storage facilities.

Sec. 3. Interagency Water Subcabinet. To promote efficient and effective coordination across agencies engaged in water-related matters, and to prioritize actions to modernize and safeguard our water resources and infrastructure, an interagency Water Policy Committee (to be known as the Water Subcabinet) is hereby established. The Water Subcabinet shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Co Chairs), and shall include the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Army, and the heads of such other agencies as the Co-Chairs deem appropriate. The Department of the Interior or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support as needed for the Water Subcabinet to implement this order.

Sec. 4. Reducing Inefficiencies and Duplication. Currently, hundreds of Federal water-related task forces, working groups, and other formal cross-agency initiatives (Federal interagency working groups) exist to address water resource management. Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Water Subcabinet shall, to the extent practicable, identify all such Federal interagency working groups and provide recommendations to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on coordinating and consolidating these Federal interagency working groups, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

Sec. 5. Improving Water Resource Management. Federal agencies engage in a wide range of activities relating to water resource management. Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Water Subcabinet shall submit to the Chairman of CEQ, the Director of OMB, and the Director of OSTP a report that recommends actions to address the issues described below, and for each recommendation identifies a lead agency, other relevant agencies, and agency milestones for fiscal years 2021 through 2025:

(a) Actions to increase water storage, water supply reliability, and drought resiliency, including through:

(i) developing additional storage capacity, including an examination of operational changes and opportunities to update dam water control manuals for existing facilities during routine operations, maintenance, and safety assessments; (ii) coordinating agency reviews when there are multi-agency permitting and other regulatory

(ii) coordinating agency reviews when there are multi-agency permitting and other regulatory requirements;

(iii) increasing engagement with State, local, and tribal partners regarding the ongoing drought along the Colorado River and regarding irrigated agriculture in the Colorado Basin;

(iv) implementing the “Priority Actions Supporting Long-Term Drought Resilience” document issued on July 31, 2019, by the National Drought Resilience Partnership; and

(v) improving coordination among State, local, tribal, and territorial governments and rural communities, including farmers, ranchers, and landowners, to develop voluntary, market based water and land management practices and programs that improve conservation efforts, economic viability, and water supply, sustainability, and security;

(b) Actions to improve water quality, source water protection, and nutrient management; to promote restoration activities; and to examine water quality challenges facing our Nation’s minority and low-income communities, including through:

(i) implementing the “Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan III” issued on October 22, 2019, by the EPA for the GLRI Interagency Task Force and Regional Working Group, established pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322);

(ii) enhancing coordination among the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force partners to support State implementation of nutrient reduction strategies;

(iii) increasing coordination between agencies and members of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, established pursuant to the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (Public Law 104 303), and implementing and completing the activities included in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, established pursuant to the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106 541); and

(iv) continuing implementation of the EPA’s memorandum entitled “Updating the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Quality Trading Policy to Promote Market-Based Mechanisms for Improving Water Quality” issued on February 6, 2019;

(c) Actions to improve water systems, including for drinking water, desalination, water reuse, wastewater, and flood control, including through:

(i) finalizing and implementing, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, the proposed rule entitled “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions,” 84 Fed. Reg. 61684 (Nov. 13, 2019);

(ii) implementing the “National Water Reuse Action Plan” issued on February 27, 2020, by the EPA;

(iii) coordinating with the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force, established pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-448), on Federal flood risk management policies and programs to better support community needs; and

(iv) continuing coordination among agencies concerning the Department of Energy’s Water Security Grand Challenge to advance transformational technology and innovation to provide safe, secure, and affordable water; and

(d) Actions to improve water data management, research, modeling, and forecasting, including through:

(i) aligning efforts and developing research plans among the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Secretary of the Army, through the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), to ensure that America remains a global leader for water-related science and technology capabilities;

(ii) implementing common methods of water forecasting, including the use of snow monitoring tools, on a national and basin scale, supported by weather forecasting on all scales;

(iii) developing state-of-the-art geospatial data tools, including maps, through Federal, State, tribal, and territorial partnerships to depict the scope of waters regulated under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-500); and

(iv) implementing actions identified in the “Federal Action Plan for Improving Forecasts of Water Availability” issued on October 18, 2019, by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce pursuant to section 3 of the Presidential Memorandum of October 19, 2018 (Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West).

Sec. 6. Report. Within 1 year of submitting the report required by section 5 of this order, and annually thereafter, the Water Subcabinet shall update the Chairman of CEQ, the Director of OMB, and the Director of OSTP on the status of the actions identified in the report.

Sec. 7. Integrated Infrastructure Planning. Agencies oversee a number of programs to enhance coordination of cross agency water infrastructure planning and to protect taxpayer investments. Within 150 days of the date of this order, the Water Subcabinet shall identify and recommend actions and priorities to the Director of OMB, the Chairman of CEQ, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy to support integrated planning and coordination among agencies to maintain and modernize our Nation’s water infrastructure, including for drinking water, desalination, water reuse, wastewater, irrigation, flood control, transportation on our rivers and inland waterways, and water storage and conveyance. The recommendations shall consider water infrastructure programs that are funded by the Department of Defense through the Army Corps of Engineers, and by the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the EPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Economic Development Administration, and other agencies, as appropriate. Such programs include the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, established pursuant to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (Public Law 113 121) and amended by the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-270), which modernizes the aging water infrastructure of the United States, improves public health protections, and creates jobs; the Department of Agriculture’s rural development programs, which make and support investments in water infrastructure; and the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, which promote source water protection, improve water quality, and assist with developing new water infrastructure projects.

Sec. 8. Water Sector Workforce. Trained water-sector professionals are vital to protecting public health and the environment through strategic planning, operation and maintenance of treatment facilities, and implementation of water management programs. Within 150 days of the date of this order, the Water Subcabinet, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, shall identify actions and develop recommendations to improve interagency coordination and provide assistance and technical support to State, local, tribal, and territorial governments in order to enhance the recruitment, training, and retention of water professionals within drinking water, desalination, water reuse, wastewater, flood control, hydropower, and delivery and storage sectors. Such recommendations shall be submitted to the Chairman of CEQ, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Sec. 9. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 13, 2020.

_______________________________________________

AB95 Signed By Governor Into Law

AB95

ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 95–COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES, AGRICULTURE, AND MINING

(ON BEHALF OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEEON PUBLIC LANDS)

PREFILED JANUARY 24, 2019

____________

Referred to Committee on Natural Resources,

Agriculture, and Mining

SUMMARY—Revises provisions relating to water. (BDR 48-504)

FISCAL NOTE: Effect on Local Government: No.

Effect on the State: Yes.

AN ACT    relating to water; requiring the State Engineer to continue to allow withdrawals of groundwater from domestic wells under certain circumstances in groundwater basins where withdrawals have been restricted to conform to priority rights; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:  Existing law requires the State Engineer to conduct investigations in any basin or portion thereof where it appears that the average annual replenishment to the groundwater supply may not be adequate for the needs of all permittees and vested rights claimants. If the State Engineer confirms that the average annual replenishment to the groundwater supply may not be adequate, he or she may order that withdrawals, including withdrawals from domestic wells, be restricted to conform to priority rights. (NRS 534.110) Existing law: (1) authorizes the State Engineer to designate as a critical management area any groundwater basin in which withdrawals of groundwater consistently exceed the perennial yield of the basin; and (2) requires the State Engineer to designate as a critical management area any groundwater basin in which withdrawals of groundwater consistently exceed the perennial yield of the basin upon receipt of a petition for such designation. If a groundwater basin is designated as a critical management area for at least 10 consecutive years, the State Engineer is required to order that withdrawals, including withdrawals from domestic wells, be restricted to conform to priority rights. (NRS 534.110)
This bill provides that if the State Engineer orders that withdrawals be restricted to conform to priority rights in any of these groundwater basins, he or she must limit the restriction on withdrawals from domestic wells to allow a domestic well to continue to withdraw 0.5 acre-feet of water per year if the owner of the domestic well installs or has installed a water meter to record the withdrawal.

________________________________________

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. NRS 534.110 is hereby amended to read as follows:
534.110 1. The State Engineer shall administer this chapter
and shall prescribe all necessary regulations within the terms of this chapter for its administration.

2. The State Engineer may: (a) Require periodical statements of water elevations, water
used, and acreage on which water was used from all holders of
permits and claimants of vested rights.
(b) Upon his or her own initiation, conduct pumping tests to
determine if overpumping is indicated, to determine the specific
yield of the aquifers and to determine permeability characteristics.

3. The State Engineer shall determine whether there is unappropriated water in the area affected and may issue permits
only if the determination is affirmative. The State Engineer may
require each applicant to whom a permit is issued for a well:
(a) For municipal, quasi-municipal or industrial use; and
(b) Whose reasonably expected rate of diversion is one-half
cubic foot per second or more, to report periodically to the State Engineer concerning the effect of that well on other previously existing wells that are located within 2,500 feet of the well.

4. It is a condition of each appropriation of groundwater acquired under this chapter that the right of the appropriator relates to a specific quantity of water and that the right must allow for a reasonable lowering of the static water level at the appropriator’s point of diversion. In determining a reasonable lowering of the static water level in a particular area, the State Engineer shall consider the economics of pumping water for the general type of crops growing and may also consider the effect of using water on the economy of the area in general.

5. 5. This section does not prevent the granting of permits to
applicants later in time on the ground that the diversions under the
proposed later appropriations may cause the water level to be
lowered at the point of diversion of a prior appropriator, so long as
any protectable interests in existing domestic wells as set forth in
NRS 533.024 and the rights of holders of existing appropriations
can be satisfied under such express conditions. At the time a permit
is granted for a well: (a) For municipal, quasi-municipal or industrial use; and
(b) Whose reasonably expected rate of diversion is one-half
cubic foot per second or more,
 the State Engineer shall include as a condition of the permit that
pumping water pursuant to the permit may be limited or prohibited
to prevent any unreasonable adverse effects on an existing domestic
well located within 2,500 feet of the well, unless the holder of the
permit and the owner of the domestic well have agreed to alternative measures that mitigate those adverse effects.

6. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 7, the State
Engineer shall conduct investigations in any basin or portion thereof where it appears that the average annual replenishment to the groundwater supply may not be adequate for the needs of all
permittees and all vested-right claimants, and if the findings of the
State Engineer so indicate, except as otherwise provided in
subsection 9, the State Engineer may order that withdrawals,
including, without limitation, withdrawals from domestic wells, be
restricted to conform to priority rights.

7. The State Engineer:
(a) May designate as a critical management area any basin in
which withdrawals of groundwater consistently exceed the perennial yield of the basin.
(b) Shall designate as a critical management area any basin in
which withdrawals of groundwater consistently exceed the perennial yield of the basin upon receipt of a petition for such a designation which is signed by a majority of the holders of certificates or permits to appropriate water in the basin that are on file in the Office of the State Engineer.
 The designation of a basin as a critical management area pursuant to this subsection may be appealed pursuant to NRS 533.450. If a basin has been designated as a critical management area for at least 10 consecutive years, except as otherwise provided in subsection 9, the State Engineer shall order that withdrawals, including, without limitation, withdrawals from domestic wells, be restricted in that basin to conform to priority rights, unless a groundwater management plan has been approved for the basin pursuant to NRS 534.037. 378.

8. In any basin or portion thereof in the State designated by the
State Engineer, the State Engineer may restrict drilling of wells in
any portion thereof if the State Engineer determines that additional
wells would cause an undue interference with existing wells. Any
order or decision of the State Engineer so restricting drilling of such
wells may be reviewed by the district court of the county pursuant to
NRS 533. 450.

9. If the State Engineer orders pursuant to subsection 6 or 7
that withdrawals be restricted to conform to priority rights, the
State Engineer must limit the restriction of withdrawals from a
domestic well to allow a domestic well to continue to withdraw 0.5
acre-feet of water per year, which must be recorded by a water
meter.
Sec. 2. This act becomes effective on July 1, 2019.