Amid water supply uncertainties, Nevada State Engineer issues Interim Order for Cold Spring Valley

Amid water supply uncertainties, Nevada State Engineer issues Interim Order for Reno’s Cold Spring Valley

Nevada is in a new era of water management. As both the driest and fastest-growing state in the nation, coupled with the growing impacts Nevada is experiencing from climate change, forward-looking management of our limited water resources is the foremost priority of the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR). As part of these efforts, today Nevada’s State Engineer issued Interim Order 1307 to help address a pressing water management issue in the Cold Spring Hydrographic Basin, located just north of Reno.

Groundwater in the Cold Spring Hydrographic Basin is the only water source for thousands of homes located throughout Cold Spring Valley. Over the years, NDWR has received and considered multiple applications seeking to appropriate groundwater in Cold Spring Valley. NDWR has consistently denied the applications because existing commitments exceed the available water supply.  However, over the last decade, the Cold Spring community has continued to grow and use an increasing volume of existing groundwater in the basin, putting further strain on an already limited water supply.

With the issuance of Interim Order 1307, NDWR has placed a temporary hold on the review and approval of new subdivision maps and other proposals that would require additional water supply in Cold Spring Valley. Given the uncertainties surrounding the basin’s annual water capacity, NDWR cautions that constructing new housing developments could potentially impair the water supply for existing homes where thousands of families currently live. To help prevent a potential future water shortage, NDWR’s Interim Order will include an updated review of water use and hydrologic data to determine if there’s enough water in the ground to support any new developments without impacting existing users or unsustainably depleting the Cold Spring Hydrographic Basin.

“The Nevada Division of Water Resources is committed to protecting and managing Nevada’s limited water resources using the best available science for the benefit of all Nevadans,” said Nevada State Engineer Tim Wilson. “With the issuance of the Interim Order, our goal is to take a proactive approach to water management by ensuring essential groundwater data is collected to help inform development decisions, protect current property rights and family homes, and foster a sustainable water future in the Cold Spring community.”

Click here to view Interim Order 1307