Hearing Opens on Plan to Pump Rural Nevada Water to Las Vegas

A state hearing has opened into plans to pump billions of gallons of water from three rural Nevada valleys to booming Las Vegas - with proponents saying state officials should ignore foes who say the pumping will end the valleys' growth prospects.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants more than 11.3 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys.

Attorney Paul Taggart, representing the authority, said some of the growth possibilities mentioned by opponents are "nothing more than speculation."

Taggart also said state Engineer Tracy Taylor wouldn't be the first state engineer to determine that water from an outlying valley would be best used as a resource for growing urban areas.

Kay Brothers, SNWA's deputy general manager, outlined an elaborate system of monitoring wells to ensure the pumping doesn't cause environmental damage in the valleys.

Farmers, ranchers and others fear they'll lose their way of life in the remote area. They argue that relevant information wasn't made public and that more planning and studies are needed.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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