Las Vegas Water 'Grab' Hearings Wrap Up

State hearings into a plan to pump billions of gallons of rural Nevada water to Las Vegas ended Friday with proponents saying they're entitled to the water and opponents warning that the pumping could have a catastrophic impact.

State Engineer Tracy Taylor will review the testimony and voluminous paperwork submitted during two weeks of hearings and issue a ruling at a later date on the Southern Nevada Water Authority pumping plan. A final decision isn't likely for several months.

Paul Taggart, attorney for SNWA which wants to draw more than 11.3 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys, argued that the water authority met all requirements for the pumping while critics' disaster scenarios are unfounded.

Simeon Herskovits, attorney for the Great Basin Water Network which opposes the plan, countered that SNWA tried to cover up evidence that the pumping may harm existing water users and the environment in rural Nevada because there's not enough water in the valleys for long-term exportation.

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

AP-NY-02-15-08 1459EST

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