The story of the West is a story of water and water rights. It's the gold that fuels development, think the movie China Town or Marc Reisner's book, Cadillac Desert. We live in Red Rock Valley, which is one valley west of Long Valley, a basin that receives Sierra runoff and its snow melt. It means we have a good aquifer in addition to occasional small springs.
We drew the attention of developers who quietly bought the water rights for a alfalfa ranch in lower Red Rock Valley. They petitioned to have an easement so they could subdivide and build houses and get out of the hay business. They received the easement, and then the horns came out. Actually, they said - we're going to build a pipeline with that easement and export your water. Their pipeline would place pumping stations right next to existing houses.
The water rights to that parcel were granted before Dickenson Ranch was subdivided into 400 parcels, which are now all small homesteads with individual wells. Nevada has a law that personal wells have a priority, but the developers have deep pockets. We raised money like crazy and hired an attorney to represent our cause. Our attorney emailed us yesterday with the following:
"Just received notification that Judge Adams ruled in our favor this morning and denied Red Rock LLC's petition to throw out the county commissioner's ruling. Spread the good news that we won! I will forward the decision as soon as I receive the order. "
It's a relief. We've won for now because they ran out of money. The concern is that they will be back, which means they'd have to take it to the Supreme Court, but for now, we've won!!