Shortage of water leading to disputes over use and access in Nevada
Nevada’s climate enables residents to enjoy outdoor activities all year long. Temperatures often exceed triple digits in the summer, but winters remain relatively mild. However, being in the middle of a desert, the Las Vegas metro area does not get a lot of rain. This means that any water sources will be heavily relied upon to provide for the entire region, making water rights that much more important.
Most of Nevada’s water comes from the Colorado River. Nevada is one of seven states that depend on the river as a main water source. The federal government apportioned the amount of water the state would receive in the 1920s. The agreement between the states came at a time when Las Vegas had not yet seen its huge population increase, meaning that Nevada received the smallest share of the water being divided.
Water that is flowing over a person’s property is a very valuable commodity. The water rights that come with this access are worth even more. When water rights are being transferred, the buyer needs to know for sure that the seller has the water rights under his or her control. Often, the chain of custody can go back decades, in some cases even back to the first days of statehood.
Specific requirements must be followed when the rights are bought or sold, and failing to follow these procedures may place ownership at risk. Those interested in making a purchase must do their due diligence before completing an agreement.
It is not uncommon for disputes between neighbors over the use of water. One landowner may use the water in a way that jeopardizes those further downstream. This could cause significant problems for those property owners, and could result in time-consuming and expensive litigation.
Some sellers may try to retain the water rights to a property, so it is important to know what is being offered for sale. If the deal does not specifically address the water rights, it will be assumed that the rights will be included in the sale.
Nevada is constantly searching for new sources of water. The Bureau of Land Management recently approved a pipeline that will run from the northern part of the state to Las Vegas. This project faced considerable challenges from landowners in rural communities that have depended upon the water.
Water rights disputes can be extremely complicated to resolve. Because of the comprehensive research that must be performed, it is important to work with an experienced mineral rights attorney. An attorney can help you understand the steps that you need to take to ensure that your transaction will be able to be completed according to your wishes.