Lack of water might just end the dream of a Coyote Springs master-planned community.
A recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted, “Nevada’s state water engineer is blocking construction at Coyote because he says there isn’t enough water to support the project.”
Jason King, the state water engineer, sent a letter in early June to Coyote Springs Investments stating that he cannot justify approving any subdivision maps for the long-stalled development about 45 miles south of Alamo, on the east side of U.S. 93.
The article said King warned that “pumping the existing groundwater rights at Coyote Springs could dry out springs to the east that form the headwaters of the Muddy River and the sole habitat for the Moapa dace, a small fish protected by the Endangered Species Act.”
Emilia Cargill, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Coyote Springs, declined comment on the article except to say that they have gone to litigation in Clark County, seeking to overturn King’s decision. “I do not wish to make any comment at this time because of the litigation.”
The lawsuit notes that if the company is not allowed to use the water rights it already has, then, “effectively, the Coyote Springs development is dead.”
Coyote Springs is owned by prominent San Francisco Bay Area-based developers Thomas and Albert Seeno Jr., who have spent more than $200 million so far on utilities, flood control structures, and a Jack Nicklaus- designed signature golf course which opened in 2008.
Cargill added that King has requested a public hearing at the end of July,
“to review everything, and to look at the science behind the letter he sent us. He sent the letter to us before he provided us with the science leading to his findings.”
The hearing will be held July 24 at 9 a.m. at the Moapa Valley Community Center in Overton. It will deal with the water available in five linked aquifers in what is called the Super Basin.
According to the Review-Journal, in 2014, King rejected a host of pending applications for new groundwater rights in Coyote Springs and four adjacent watersheds, based on the results of a two-year pumping test conducted by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to see if it could safely withdraw water from the area without impacting the upper Muddy River or its endangered fish.
King was quoted in the article as saying he believes “only a small portion” of the 50,000 acre feet of water already applied for in the five water basins can be used without negatively impacting the Moapa dace or senior rights holders along the river.
The article noted, “Coyote Springs already owns 4,140 acre feet of permitted groundwater rights, of which almost half is dedicated to the development’s water system managed by the Las Vegas Water District.”