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Nevada Water Chief Rejects Big Las Vegas Pipeline Pumping Plan

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada's top state water official has dealt a severe blow to long-fought plans for Las Vegas to pump drinking water from arid valleys just west of the Nevada-Utah state line.

State Engineer Jason King's ruling Friday effectively rescinds earlier approvals for Southern Nevada Water Authority groundwater rights in vast rural tracts in Lincoln and White Pine counties.

The decision followed hearings by King last year on a state judge's order to recalculate if there was enough water underground to supply the 250-mile pipeline.

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Officials have called the project essential if drought keeps shrinking the Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River. The lake supplies 90 percent of Las Vegas drinking water.

Opponents predicted the multi-billion dollar pipeline would turn the Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys to dustbowls.