A committee of lawmakers on Thursday opted to let the Snake Valley Aquifer Advisory Council lapse, agreeing it had served its purpose in a highly controversial water fight between Nevada and Utah that played out a decade ago or longer.

The vote was unanimous by the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Committee.

The issue at the time was the acquisition of water rights by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, especially in the Snake Valley area that straddles both states, in support of groundwater pumping to send the water down to Las Vegas.

Because it is a shared hydrological basin, Utah critics said what happened on the Nevada side would have detrimental effects to Utah’s water supplies in the region, compromising the availability of the finite resource to serve already struggling ranchers and farmers.

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A draft agreement four years in the making was intended to ease the concerns of both states, outlining steps and procedures in a water sharing agreement.

In the end, however, then-Gov. Gary Herbert refused to sign it, at the time saying it was clear the people in the west desert communities did not want it.

Under the proposed agreement, no pumping would have occurred in Utah, but the critics have asserted that any drawing down of the aquifer on the Nevada side would leave Snake Valley even drier than it already is.

Nevada would have been able to develop an additional 35,000 acre-feet of water per year in Snake Valley, while Utah would have received 6,000 acre-feet of water a year, under the agreement.

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Steve Erickson, with the Great Basin Water Network, said the advisory council was important.

“The Snake Valley Aquifer Advisory Council did serve an important role during a critical time in the effort to defeat the Southern Nevada Water groundwater development project. That water authority sought to take groundwater over an area the size of Vermont and ship it to Las Vegas. They were required under federal statute to have a bilateral agreement on the shared Snake Valley aquifer,” Erickson said.

He added the Southern Nevada Water Authority is still sitting on water rights, so the threat is not completely eliminated.

“I hope you would take a look at reconsidering restarting it should the need arise in the future, which we certainly hope will not. There are other water threats that could potentially affect Hamlin Valley to the north of Snake Valley. And keep in mind this groundwater flow system is vast and it goes all the way to Great Salt Lake,” Erickson said.

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Redge Johnson, executive director of the Public Lands Coordinating Office, agreed with Erickson.

“This is something we could set up relatively quickly again if we need to if Las Vegas comes after the water again,” he said, adding there continues to be groundwater testing in the region.