Due to the state’s arid climate and limited water resources, transferring water from one basin to another is not new to Nevada. In fact, the first interbasin transfer occurred in 1873, when water from Hobart Reservoir in Washoe Valley Hydrographic Basin was conveyed to Virginia City, which is within the Dayton Valley Hydrographic Basin. Many interbasin transfers have been completed since then in nearly every region of the state.
The chart below, adapted from the 1999 Nevada State Water Plan, shows interbasin water transfers throughout the state since 1873.
In determining whether an application for an interbasin transfer of water should be approved or rejected, under NRS 533.370 the State Engineer must consider:
- Whether the applicant has justified the need to import the water from another basin.
- Whether a conservation plan has been adopted and is being effectively carried out, if the State Engineer determines that such a plan is advisable for the basin into which water is to be imported
- Whether the proposed action is an appropriate long-term use that will not unduly limit the future growth and development in the basin from which the water is exported.
- Any other factor(s) the Office of the State Engineer determines to be relevant.
The applicant may also work with the county from which the water is proposed to be transferred to develop a plan to mitigate adverse economic impacts of the transfer. If a plan cannot be agreed to, the county (with the approval of the State Engineer) has the option to impose an annual fee on the water transferred. The amount of the fee is defined in NRS 533.438.
Basin of Origin
Type of Use
|Washoe Valley||Eagle Valley||Carson City municipal supply|
|Goshute Valley||Great Salt Lake Desert||Wendover municipal supply|
|Pilot Creek Valley||Great Salt Lake Desert||Wendover municipal supply|
|Long Valley||Cold Springs Valley||Municipal supply|
|Ralston Valley||Big Smokey Valley||Tonopah municipal supply|
|Carson Valley||Eagle Valley||Carson City municipal supply|
|Dayton Valley||Eagle Valley||Carson City municipal supply|
|L. Meadow Valley Wash||Muddy River Springs Area||Reid Gardner Power Plant|
|Oreana Sub-area||Lovelock Valley||Lovelock municipal supply|
SURFACE WATER TRANSFERS
|Source/Basin of Origin||Receiving Basin||Type of Use|
|Lake Tahoe Basin||Eagle Valley||Carson City municipal supply|
|Lake Tahoe Basin||Dayton Valley||Virginia City municipal supply|
|Truckee River (Tracy Segment)||Carson River||Truckee-Carson irrigation District for (Churchill Valley via Truckee Canal) irrigation|
|Newark Valley (spring)||Diamond Valley||Eureka municipal supply|
|Lake Tahoe Basin (treated effluent)||Carson Valley||Irrigation|
|Truckee River (Truckee Meadows)||Lemmon Valley||Municipal supply|
|Carson River (Dayton Valley)||Eagle Valley||Carson City municipal supply|
|Colorado River (Black Mountain area)||Las Vegas Valley||Las Vegas area municipal supply|
|Truckee River (Truckee Meadows)||Spanish Springs Valley (via Orr Ditch)||Irrigation|
|Truckee River (Truckee Meadows)||Sun Valley||Municipal supply|
Reprinted from Nevada Division of Water Resources Interbasin Transfers, from Nevada Water Law, An overview