Water Sparks Controversy at Utah-Nevada Border

Water Sparks Controversy at Utah-Nevada Border

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John Hollenhorst reporting Las Vegas's growing thirst has touched off a rebellion along the Utah-Nevada border. People there say Las Vegas is coming after their water and they want the State of Utah to stand up and say "No!.

Las Vegas wants to drill wells and build pipelines in a large swath of rural Nevada. But it's stirring controversy on both sides of the border. That's because one aquifer they want to drill is mostly under the state of Utah.

It's called the Snake Valley aquifer, underground water stretching under three rural Utah counties. Ranchers and farmers in the area rely on springs and wells fed by that same groundwater.

They fear Las Vegas pumping will drastically lower the water table and dry up their valley.

Dean Baker/ Utah-Nevada Rancher: "I think it's morally wrong. I think it's wrong to dry an area up and take the water away. When you take the water away, you take the future away. I think this has got every bit as much a right to a future as Las Vegas."

John Cooper/ Chairman, Millard County Commission: "Lieutenant Governor Herbert mentioned that we're not going to meet them at the border with clubs. Well, we would kind of like that kind of an attitude, to protect Utah water for Utah residents."

Las Vegas officials insist no one will go dry because there's enough water for everybody.

J.C. Davis/ Southern Nevada Water Authority: "Ultimately, nobody has to take our word for it. I mean, that's why there's a water rights permitting process, so they can fully evaluate what the impacts are going to look like."

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