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Nevada Governor Establishes Drought Forum

On April 8, 2015, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval hosted a press conference at Washoe Lake State Park to unveil a plan to address current and future drought conditions across Nevada. Pointing out that he should have been standing in three feet of water at the time, Gov. Sandoval signed Executive Order 2015-13, establishing the Nevada Drought Forum (“NDF”). The NDF, according to Sandoval, “will bring together some of the best minds in the water science, conservation, government and industry sectors to ensure that Nevada’s path forward is clear.” Gov. Sandoval stressed that although the ongoing drought presents substantial challenges to Nevada communities, the state was built in the desert and is uniquely suited to survival in drought conditions.

The NDF will consist of state water-related officials, water providers, and members of the hydrology and climatology communities. The Executive Order also called on affected industries, communities and local and federal partners to participate. Unlike the Executive Order signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown just a week before, the Executive Order is geared toward developing an understanding of the drought’s impacts on Nevada and planning to address those impacts if and when necessary. The Executive Order sets a timetable for information gathering and reporting, culminating in a stakeholder summit in September 2015. The goal of the summit is to prepare a report that provides Nevada with a path forward in addressing droughts and the effects of climate change.

The Executive Order does not require any specific action to be taken by water purveyors or local governments at this time. However, participation in the information-gathering stages is encouraged, and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP would be pleased to assist our clients who wish to participate in the information-gathering process. For more information on the Nevada Executive Order or how you can participate in the drought planning process, please contact your BHFS attorney.

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