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Nevada Supreme Court ruling shakes up groundwater rights

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Court gavel(KTVF)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:55 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (AP) - A Nevada Supreme Court ruling has set new precedent for how the state can manage groundwater in areas with severe drought.

The 4-3 ruling was issued Thursday to settle a water dispute in a rural Eureka County farm area.

The court said groundwater management plans established in some areas that are losing water quickly can deviate from the longstanding senior water rights doctrine.

Groundwater is governed by what is called a “priority doctrine.” It traditionally grants senior land owners first rights to groundwater over junior land owners.

The court ruled as the West weathers a more than 20-year megadrought. Scientists say climate change will continue to make water supplies less reliable.

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