From the Las Vegas Review Journal (Henry Brean):
For the moment at least, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has lost the water it hoped to pump to Las Vegas in the first phase of its proposed pipeline across eastern Nevada.
In a strongly worded order issued last week, a district judge overturned a 2008 state ruling that granted the authority permission to tap groundwater from three valleys in central Lincoln County. Judge Norman Robison ruled that State Engineer Tracy Taylor “abused his discretion” and “acted arbitrarily, capriciously and oppressively” when he cleared the authority to pump more than 6 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Cave, Delamar and Dry Lake valleys.
The senior judge from Gardnerville wrote that the state’s chief water regulator traditionally requires “specific empirical data” before allowing groundwater to be transferred out of a basin. This time, though, the state engineer is “simply hoping for the best while committing to undo his decision if the worst occurs,” Robison wrote.