[Rev. 11/22/2013 3:25:29 PM--2013]

SOUTHERN NEVADA WATER AUTHORITY ACT

Chapter 572, Statutes of Nevada 1997

AN ACT relating to water; requiring the Southern Nevada Water Authority to establish a program for the management of the groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin; authorizing the Southern Nevada Water Authority to assess fees to fund certain activities related to the program; providing for the preparation of certain reports relating to the program; creating an Advisory Committee and defining its duties; requiring the submission of biennial reports to the Legislature; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

[Approved: July 16, 1997]

(Leadlines for sections have been supplied by the Legislative Counsel of the State of Nevada)

The People of the State of Nevada, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

      Section 1.  Definitions.  As used in sections 2 to 16, inclusive, of this act, unless the context otherwise requires, the words and terms defined in sections 2 to 6, inclusive, of this act have the meanings ascribed in those sections.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799; A—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2387)

      Sec. 2.  “Advisory Committee” defined.  “Advisory Committee” means the Advisory Committee for the Management of Groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 3.  “Basin” defined.  “Basin” means the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 4.  “Board of Directors” defined.  “Board of Directors” means the Board of Directors of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 5.  “Management Program” defined.  “Management Program” means the Program for the Management of Groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 6.  “Southern Nevada Water Authority” defined.  “Southern Nevada Water Authority” means the political subdivision of the State of Nevada created on July 25, 1991, by a cooperative agreement entered into on that date pursuant to the provisions of NRS 277.080 to 277.180, inclusive.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 7.  Program for Management of Groundwater in Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

      1.  The Southern Nevada Water Authority shall establish a program for the management of groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

      2.  The Management Program must provide for:

      (a) The oversight, protection and stabilization of the supply of groundwater in the Basin; and

      (b) The prevention of contamination and long-term depletion of groundwater in the Basin.

      3.  The Board of Directors shall administer the Management Program.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2799)

      Sec. 8.  Advisory Committee: Creation; members; compensation, terms and replacement of members.

      1.  The Advisory Committee for the Management of Groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin is hereby created. The Advisory Committee consists of:

      (a) Seven members to be appointed by the Board of Directors, including:

             (1) Two persons who own and operate domestic wells located in the Basin;

             (2) One representative of an organization that owns and operates a quasi-municipal well located in the Basin;

             (3) One representative of an industrial or commercial user of groundwater which is located in the Basin;

             (4) One representative of a private water company which operates in the Basin;

             (5) One consumer whose water service is provided entirely by a municipal water purveyor which is located in the Basin; and

             (6) One representative of a municipal water purveyor that owns and operates wells located in the Basin;

      (b) The State Engineer, or a designated representative of the State Engineer, who is an ex officio nonvoting member of the Advisory Committee; and

      (c) The Administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or a designated representative of the Administrator, who is an ex officio nonvoting member of the Advisory Committee.

      2.  Members of the Advisory Committee serve without compensation, except that while engaged in the business of the Advisory Committee, each member is entitled to the per diem allowance and travel expenses provided for state officers and employees generally, to be paid by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

      3.  After the initial term, the term of each appointed member is 4 years. Members may be reappointed. At the expiration of the term of a member, or if a member resigns or is otherwise unable to complete his or her term, the Board of Directors shall, not later than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, appoint a person pursuant to subsection 4 to fill the vacancy.

      4.  In replacing a member described in:

      (a) Subparagraph (1), (2) or (3) of paragraph (a) of subsection 1, the Board of Directors shall consider recommendations solicited from a representative sampling of owners of domestic wells, persons and organizations associated with quasi-municipal wells, and industrial and commercial users of groundwater, respectively.

      (b) Subparagraph (4), (5) or (6) of paragraph (a) of subsection 1, the Board of Directors shall consider recommendations solicited from the various entities that comprise the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2800; A—Ch. 180, Stats. 2011 p. 820)

      Sec. 9.  Advisory Committee: Frequency of meetings.  The Advisory Committee shall meet at least once every year.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2800; A—Ch. 180, Stats. 2011 p. 821)

      Sec. 10.  Advisory Committee: Powers and duties.  The Advisory Committee:

      1.  Shall discuss issues related to the Basin and the Management Program.

      2.  Shall advise the Board of Directors concerning the progress, activities and general direction of the Management Program.

      3.  May provide written recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s management of the Basin and the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s exercise of its powers related thereto. Any such recommendation may be made only by a majority vote of all of the voting members of the Advisory Committee, and each dissenting opinion to the recommendation must be fully documented and included with the recommendation.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2801)

      Sec. 11.  Joint workshop between Advisory Committee and Southern Nevada Water Authority.

      1.  At least once each calendar year, the Advisory Committee and the Southern Nevada Water Authority shall conduct a joint workshop to discuss issues related to the Basin and the Management Program. The Southern Nevada Water Authority shall give public notice of the workshop in accordance with NRS 241.020. Members of the general public, owners of wells and other interested persons must be encouraged to attend the joint workshop.

      2.  The issues and concerns expressed on the record by persons attending the joint workshop must be recorded in writing and appended to the summary and joint reports prepared pursuant to section 12 of this act.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2801)

      Sec. 12.  Reports.  On or before December 31 of each even-numbered year, the Southern Nevada Water Authority shall prepare a report and submit the report to the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for transmittal to the Nevada Legislature. The report must include, without limitation:

      1.  A summary of all of the activities, studies and research conducted on behalf of the Management Program during the previous 2 calendar years;

      2.  A detailed assessment of the joint public workshops conducted by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Advisory Committee during the previous 2 calendar years, including documentation of the comments made on the record by the members of the general public who attended the workshops;

      3.  A statement of income and expenditures related to the Management Program; and

      4.  An assessment from the Advisory Committee concerning the status of the groundwater in the Basin and the activities related to the management of the Basin, including any recommendations concerning:

      (a) Whether activities, fees and other aspects of the Management Program should be continued, modified or terminated; and

      (b) Plans for additional activities for the management of groundwater in the Basin, and for the protection of the aquifer in which the Basin is located.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2801; A—Ch. 180, Stats. 2011 p. 821)

      Sec. 13.  Assessment of fees on users of groundwater in Basin.

      1.  The Southern Nevada Water Authority may establish and collect each calendar year a fee to be assessed on users of groundwater in the Basin. Money raised from the fees must be used as provided in section 14 of this act.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in this section:

      (a) Users of groundwater, other than owners of domestic wells, may be assessed a fee each calendar year of not more than $13 per acre-foot, or its equivalent, of groundwater in the Basin to which they have a water right in that year.

      (b) Owners of domestic wells may be assessed a flat fee each calendar year of not more than $13.

      3.  Except as otherwise provided in subsections 4 and 5, if the Southern Nevada Water Authority operates a project for the recharge and recovery or underground storage and recovery of water pursuant to section 14.5 of this act:

      (a) Users of groundwater, other than owners of domestic wells, may be assessed a fee each calendar year of not more than $30 per acre-foot, or its equivalent, of groundwater in the Basin to which they have a water right in that year.

      (b) Owners of domestic wells may be assessed a flat fee each calendar year of not more than $30.

      4.  The maximum fees specified in subsections 2 and 3 may be adjusted once each year for inflation. The maximum amount of the adjustment must be determined by multiplying the respective amounts of the fees by the percentage of inflation, if any. The Consumer Price Index published by the United States Department of Labor for July preceding the year for which the adjustment is made must be used in determining the percentage of inflation.

      5.  The maximum fees may be increased by an amount that is greater than the amount of the adjustment for inflation as calculated pursuant to subsection 4 only if the increase is approved by the Legislature.

      6.  As used in this section, “water right” means the legal right to use water that has been appropriated pursuant to chapters 533 and 534 of NRS by means of application, permit, certificate, decree or claim of vested right.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2802; A—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2387)

      Sec. 14.  Use of proceeds from fees assessed on users of groundwater in Basin.  Money collected pursuant to section 13 of this act must be used to:

      1.  Develop and distribute information promoting education and the conservation of groundwater in the Basin.

      2.  Perform such comprehensive inventories of wells of all types located within the basin as may be needed. Such inventories must be done in conjunction with the State Engineer.

      3.  Prepare, for use by the Advisory Committee, such cost-benefit analyses relating to the recharge and recovery or underground storage and recovery of water in the Basin as may be needed.

      4.  Develop recommendations for additional activities for the management of the Basin and the protection of the aquifer in which the Basin is located, and to conduct such activities if the activities have been approved by the Board of Directors.

      5.  Develop and implement a program to provide financial assistance to pay at least 50 percent but not more than 85 percent of the cost of the local and regional connection fees and capital improvements necessary for making the connection to the proposed source of water, as determined by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to owners of real property served by:

      (a) Domestic wells; or

      (b) Wells that are operated pursuant to temporary permits,

Ê who are required by the State Engineer to connect the real property to a public water system pursuant to NRS 534.120.

      6.  Pay the costs associated with abandoning and plugging wells on the real property of persons who are required by the State Engineer to connect the real property to a public water system pursuant to NRS 534.120.

      7.  Perform such other duties as are necessary for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Advisory Committee to carry out the provisions of this act.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2802; A—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2388; Ch. 113, Stats. 2003 p. 624)

      Sec. 14.3.  Agreement for abandonment or plugging of well and connection to public water system.

      1.  The Southern Nevada Water Authority may, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, establish a program under which it may enter into an agreement with an owner of real property located in the Basin to:

      (a) Abandon or plug a well located on the real property;

      (b) Install pipes and other appurtenances to deliver water to the real property; and

      (c) Pay fees related to the connection of the property to a public water system.

      2.  An agreement entered into pursuant to subsection 1 may:

      (a) Provide for the repayment, over time, to the Southern Nevada Water Authority by the owner of the real property all money expended by the Southern Nevada Water Authority pursuant to the agreement;

      (b) Provide that all money to be repaid to the Southern Nevada Water Authority pursuant to the agreement be due and payable upon the sale or other transfer of the real property;

      (c) Be secured by a lien upon the real property;

      (d) Be acknowledged and recorded in the same manner as conveyances affecting real property are required to be acknowledged and recorded pursuant to chapter 111 of NRS; and

      (e) Include any other provision that is reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of the program established pursuant to subsection 1.

      3.  An abandonment or plugging of a well pursuant to an agreement entered into pursuant to subsection 1 must be conducted in a manner approved by the State Engineer.

      4.  As used in this section, “public water system” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 445A.840.

      (Added—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2386; A—Ch. 180, Stats. 2011 p. 821)

      Sec. 14.5.  Operation of project for recharge and recovery or underground storage and recovery of water.  The Southern Nevada Water Authority may, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, operate a project for the recharge and recovery or underground storage and recovery of water pursuant to chapter 534 of NRS for the benefit of owners of wells in the Basin.

      (Added—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2387)

      Sec. 15.  Power and duties of Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors may conduct such investigations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this act. To carry out the Management Program, the Board of Directors shall regularly consult with the State Engineer and the Division of Environmental Protection of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2802)

      Sec. 16.  Authority of State Engineer, State Environmental Commission and Division of Environmental Protection not superseded.  Nothing in this act supersedes the authority granted to:

      1.  The State Engineer in chapters 532, 533 and 534 of NRS.

      2.  The State Environmental Commission and the Division of Environmental Protection of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in chapters 444, 445A, 445B, 459, 486A, 519A and 590 of NRS.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2803)

      Sec. 17.  Advisory Committee: Initial appointment and terms of members.

      1.  For the initial term of the members of the Advisory Committee for the Management of Groundwater in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin described in paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of section 8 of this act, the Board of Directors shall appoint:

      (a) Four of the members to 3-year terms; and

      (b) Three of the members to 2-year terms.

      2.  In making the initial appointment to the Advisory Committee for those members described in subparagraphs (1), (2) and (3) of paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of section 8 of this act, the Board of Directors shall take into consideration recommendations by the Citizens Advisory Group of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Such recommendations by the Citizens Advisory Group must be submitted by the Citizens Advisory Group to the Board of Directors not later than 60 days after the effective date of this act.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2803)

      Sec. 19.  Expenses of local government.  The provisions of NRS 354.599 do not apply to any additional expenses of a local government that are related to the provisions of this act.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2803; A—Ch. 374, Stats. 2001 p. 1829)

      Sec. 20.  Effective date.  This act becomes effective upon passage and approval.

      (Ch. 572, Stats. 1997 p. 2803; A—Ch. 468, Stats. 1999 p. 2388)