Nrs: Chapter 540 - Planning And Development Of Water Resources

Link to law: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-540.html
Published: 2015

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[Rev. 11/21/2013 12:20:28

PM--2013]



CHAPTER 540 - PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF

WATER RESOURCES

GENERAL PROVISIONS

NRS 540.011           Legislative

declaration.

NRS 540.021           Definitions.

DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES

NRS 540.031           Creation

of Water Planning Section.

NRS 540.036           Chief:

Appointment.

NRS 540.041           Chief:

Qualifications; duties; employment of staff.

NRS 540.051           Duties

of Section.

REPORTING OF APPROVED PROJECTS

NRS 540.061           Statement

of legislative intent relating to reporting of projects to Chief.

NRS 540.071           “Project”

defined.

NRS 540.081           Applicability

of NRS 540.061 to 540.091,

inclusive.

NRS 540.091           Reports

of approved projects: Contents; filing; deposit of fees.

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

NRS 540.111           Advisory

Board on Water Resources Planning and Development: Creation; members;

vacancies; compensation; Chair; meetings; quorum; duties.

WATER CONSERVATION

NRS 540.121           “Supplier

of water” defined.

NRS 540.131           Plan

of water conservation: Procedure for adoption and updating of plan; review of

plan by Section; joint plans permitted by certain suppliers; duties of local governing

body.

NRS 540.141           Required

provisions of plan or joint plan of water conservation; review by Section;

posting of plans and joint plans on Internet website.

NRS 540.151           Supplier

of water required to adopt plan to provide certain incentives; procedure for

adoption of plan; adoption of joint plans permitted.

_________

_________

GENERAL PROVISIONS

      NRS 540.011  Legislative declaration.

      1.  The Legislature determines that it is

the policy of the State of Nevada to continue to recognize the critical nature

of the State’s limited water resources. It is acknowledged that many of the

State’s surface water resources are committed to existing uses, under existing

water rights, and that in many areas of the State the available groundwater

supplies have been appropriated for current uses. It is the policy of the State

of Nevada to recognize and provide for the protection of these existing water

rights. It is the policy of the State to encourage efficient and nonwasteful

use of these limited supplies. It is also the policy of the State to encourage

suppliers of water to establish prices for the use of water that maximize water

conservation with due consideration to the essential service needs of customers

and the economic burdens on businesses, public services and low-income

households.

      2.  The Legislature further recognizes the

relationship between the critical nature of the State’s limited water resources

and the increasing demands placed on these resources as the population of the

State continues to grow.

      3.  The Legislature further recognizes the

relationship between the quantity of water and the quality of water, and the

necessity to consider both factors simultaneously when planning the uses of

water.

      4.  The Legislature further recognizes the

important role of water resource planning and that such planning must be based

upon identifying current and future needs for water. The Legislature determines

that the purpose of the State’s water resource planning is to assist the State,

its local governments and its citizens in developing effective plans for the

use of water.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1170; A 1991, 173; 1995, 2499; 2007, 1252)

      NRS 540.021  Definitions.  As

used in this chapter:

      1.  “Chief” means the Chief of the Section.

      2.  “Department” means the State Department

of Conservation and Natural Resources.

      3.  “Division” means the Division of Water

Resources of the Department.

      4.  “Section” means the Water Planning

Section of the Division.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1170; A 2005, 2566)

DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES

      NRS 540.031  Creation of Water Planning Section.  The

Water Planning Section of the Division is hereby created.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1170; A 1989, 1238; 2005, 2566)

      NRS 540.036  Chief: Appointment.

      1.  The Section consists of the Chief and

any other necessary personnel.

      2.  The Chief is appointed by the State

Engineer and is in the unclassified service of the State.

      (Added to NRS by 2005, 2566)

      NRS 540.041  Chief: Qualifications; duties; employment of staff.

      1.  The Chief:

      (a) Must be selected with special reference to

his or her training, experience, capability and interest in the field of water

resource planning.

      (b) Shall coordinate the activities of the

Section.

      2.  The Chief is responsible for the

administration of all provisions of law relating to the functions of the

Section.

      3.  The Chief, with the approval of the

State Engineer, may employ, within the limits of legislative appropriations,

such staff as is necessary to the performance of his or her duties.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1170; A 1985, 437; 1995, 2316; 1999, 1087; 2005, 2566; 2013, 1631)

      NRS 540.051  Duties of Section.  The

Section shall:

      1.  Include in its planning:

      (a) Recognition and protection of existing water

rights consistent with chapters 533 and 534 of NRS; and

      (b) Consideration of the factors relating to the

quality of water in this State and the importance of considering the issues of

quantity and quality simultaneously, but the State Environmental Commission and

Division of Environmental Protection of the Department retain full

responsibility for the management of water quality.

      2.  Suggest to the Legislature changes in

water policy which may be necessary to meet new requirements of law or of the

people of the State.

      3.  Assist the State Engineer in dealings

with the Federal Government and other states, but the State Engineer is solely

responsible for the allocation of water resources and litigation.

      4.  Review local and federal documents

regarding water planning that are relevant to the use of water in Nevada,

including, without limitation, local water and resource plans. Reviews

conducted pursuant to this subsection must consider, without limitation:

      (a) The accuracy of information relating to water

use and water planning;

      (b) Compliance with the water law of this State;

and

      (c) General advice relating to water planning.

      5.  Compile and update summarized data

relating to hydrographic basins to support decisions that the State Engineer

makes regarding such basins, and provide summarized information regarding such

basins to the public. The Section shall cause to be generated and updated a

summary for each hydrographic basin to show critical information regarding that

basin, including, without limitation:

      (a) Whether the basin is designated;

      (b) All appurtenant or associated studies related

to the availability of water;

      (c) Rulings and orders affecting new

appropriations of water;

      (d) The availability of crop and pumpage

inventories;

      (e) The availability of data regarding water

levels; and

      (f) Current commitments of water from the basin

that are attributable to existing water rights.

Ê The

information described in this subsection must, insofar as practicable, be

provided in an electronic format and made available on the website of the State

Engineer on the Internet or its successor.

      6.  Upon request, provide technical

assistance to the Board for Financing Water Projects created by NRS 349.957, including, without

limitation, the review of letters of intent and applications for grants.

      7.  Promote water conservation by:

      (a) Consulting with suppliers of water

concerning:

             (1) Community water conservation plans;

and

             (2) The content and scope of water plans;

and

      (b) Reviewing plans for compliance with the

applicable provisions of NRS 540.121 to 540.151, inclusive.

      8.  Assist federal, state and local

governments and the general public in obtaining information regarding water

planning, the availability of water and issues relating to water rights.

      9.  Support activities in response to

drought as provided for under the drought plan established for the State.

      10.  Administer the statewide program

established for the management of floodplains.

      11.  Upon request, provide updates to local

governments on water issues relevant to this State, changes in policy and the availability

of new information concerning water resources.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1170; A 1987, 2280; 1991, 173; 1993, 1703; 1995, 2499; 2005, 2566)

REPORTING OF APPROVED PROJECTS

      NRS 540.061  Statement of legislative intent relating to reporting of

projects to Chief.  It is the

intent of the Legislature, in accordance with the state policy set forth in NRS 540.011, to provide for the reporting of all

projects to the Chief to ensure effective coordination by the State in its

effort to plan water use.

      (Added to NRS by 1989, 1236; A 2005, 2568)

      NRS 540.071  “Project” defined.  As

used in NRS 540.061 to 540.091,

inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires, “project” means any

development, including new construction and expansion or modification of

existing development, that requires the use of 5 acre-feet or more of water per

year and requires the approval of an officer or agency of a local government.

      (Added to NRS by 1989, 1236)

      NRS 540.081  Applicability of NRS 540.061 to 540.091,

inclusive.  NRS

540.061 to 540.091, inclusive, do not apply to:

      1.  A publicly owned project;

      2.  A subdivision as defined in NRS 278.320;

      3.  A parcel map subject to the provisions

of NRS 278.461 to 278.469, inclusive;

      4.  A division of land pursuant to NRS 278.471 to 278.4725, inclusive; or

      5.  A planned unit development pursuant to chapter 278A of NRS.

      (Added to NRS by 1989, 1236; A 1993, 2585)

      NRS 540.091  Reports of approved projects: Contents; filing; deposit of fees.

      1.  A local governmental officer or agency

that is required to approve a project shall file a report of each project the

officer or agency approves on a form provided by the Chief.

      2.  Each report of an approved project must

include:

      (a) The name and mailing address of the owner or

developer of the project;

      (b) A legal description of the location of the

project;

      (c) A description of the project, including a

summary of the amount of water required annually for the project;

      (d) A statement concerning how the water will be

supplied; and

      (e) If the water is self-supplied, the source of

the water and identification of the water rights.

      3.  A local governmental officer or agency

may require the owner or developer of an approved project to fill out the

report.

      4.  The local governmental officer or

agency shall file all reports for projects approved during a quarter of a

calendar year on or before 15 days after the last day of the quarter. The local

governmental officer or agency shall submit a fee with each report in the

amount of $75 plus 50 cents per acre-foot of water, or fraction thereof,

required by the project. The local governmental officer or agency shall collect

the fee from the owner or developer of the project, plus an additional

administrative fee of $10 which may be retained by the local government.

      5.  The Chief shall deposit all fees

received pursuant to this section with the State Treasurer for credit to the

State General Fund.

      (Added to NRS by 1989, 1236; A 1989, 2094; 2005, 2568)

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

      NRS 540.111  Advisory Board on Water Resources Planning and Development:

Creation; members; vacancies; compensation; Chair; meetings; quorum; duties.

      1.  The Advisory Board on Water Resources

Planning and Development, consisting of 15 members appointed by the Governor,

is hereby created within the Division.

      2.  The Governor shall appoint to the

Advisory Board:

      (a) Five members who are representatives of the

governing bodies of the county with the largest population in the State and the

cities in that county;

      (b) One member who is a representative of the

largest water utility in the county with the largest population in the State;

      (c) Two members who are representatives of the

county with the second largest population in the State and the cities in that

county;

      (d) One member who is a representative of the

largest water utility in the county with the second largest population in the

State;

      (e) One member who is a representative of the

governing body of a county whose population is less than 55,000;

      (f) One member who is representative of the

general public; and

      (g) Four members, each of whom represents a

different one of the following interests:

             (1) Farming;

             (2) Mining;

             (3) Ranching; and

             (4) Wildlife.

Ê The Governor

shall make the appointments required by this subsection so that at least six

members of the Advisory Board are residents of the county with the largest

population in the State, at least three members are residents of the county

with the second largest population in the State and at least four members are

residents of a county whose population is less than 100,000.

      3.  The members of the Advisory Board serve

at the pleasure of the Governor.

      4.  All vacancies on the Advisory Board

must be filled in the same manner of appointment as the member who created the

vacancy.

      5.  The members of the Advisory Board are

entitled to receive a salary of $60 for each day’s attendance at a meeting of

the Advisory Board and the travel and subsistence allowances provided by law

for state officers and employees generally.

      6.  The Advisory Board shall, at its first

meeting and annually thereafter, elect a Chair from among its members.

      7.  The Advisory Board may meet at least

once in each calendar quarter and at other times upon the call of the Chair or

a majority of the members.

      8.  A majority of the members of the

Advisory Board constitutes a quorum. A quorum may exercise all of the powers

and duties of the Advisory Board.

      9.  The Advisory Board shall:

      (a) Advise the Chief on matters relating to the

planning and development of water resources;

      (b) Be informed on and interested in the

administrative duties of the Section and any legislation recommended by the

Section;

      (c) Advise and make recommendations through the

Section and the Division to the Governor and the Legislature concerning

policies for water planning; and

      (d) Advise the Chief concerning the policies of

the Section and areas of emphasis for the planning of water resources.

      (Added to NRS by 1989, 1237; A 1995, 2500; 1999, 1088; 2005, 2569; 2011, 1294)

WATER CONSERVATION

      NRS 540.121  “Supplier of water” defined.  As

used in NRS 540.121 to 540.151,

inclusive, “supplier of water” includes, but is not limited to:

      1.  Any county, city, town, local improvement

district, general improvement district and water conservancy district;

      2.  Any water district, water system, water

project or water planning and advisory board created by a special act of the

Legislature; and

      3.  Any other public or private entity,

Ê that

supplies water for municipal, industrial or domestic purposes. The term does

not include a public utility required to adopt a plan of water conservation

pursuant to NRS 704.662.

      (Added to NRS by 1991, 520)

      NRS 540.131  Plan of water conservation: Procedure for adoption and updating

of plan; review of plan by Section; joint plans permitted by certain suppliers;

duties of local governing body.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in

subsection 5, each supplier of water which supplies water for municipal,

industrial or domestic purposes shall, on or before July 1, 1992, adopt a plan

of water conservation based on the climate and the living conditions of its

service area in accordance with the provisions of NRS

540.141, and shall update the plan pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection

4. The provisions of the plan must apply only to the supplier’s property and

its customers. The supplier of water shall submit the plan to the Section for

review by the Section pursuant to subsection 3.

      2.  As part of the procedure of adopting a

plan, the supplier of water shall provide an opportunity for any interested

person, including, but not limited to, any private or public entity that

supplies water for municipal, industrial or domestic purposes, to submit written

views and recommendations on the plan.

      3.  The plan must be reviewed by the

Section within 30 days after its submission and approved for compliance with

this section and NRS 540.141 before it is adopted

by the supplier of water.

      4.  The plan:

      (a) Must be available for inspection by members

of the public during office hours at the offices of the supplier of water;

      (b) May be revised from time to time to reflect

the changing needs and conditions of the service area. Each such revision must

be made available for inspection by members of the public; and

      (c) Must be updated every 5 years and comply with

the requirements of this section and NRS 540.141.

      5.  Suppliers of water:

      (a) Who are required to adopt a plan of water

conservation pursuant to this section; and

      (b) Whose service areas are located in a common

geographical area,

Ê may adopt

joint plans of water conservation based on the climate and living conditions of

that common geographical area. Such a plan must comply with the requirements of

this section and NRS 540.141.

      6.  The board of county commissioners of a

county, the governing body of a city and the town board or board of county

commissioners having jurisdiction of the affairs of a town shall:

      (a) Adopt any ordinances necessary to carry out a

plan of conservation adopted pursuant to this section which applies to property

within its jurisdiction;

      (b) Establish a schedule of fines for the

violation of any ordinances adopted pursuant to this subsection; and

      (c) Hire such employees as it deems necessary to

enforce the provisions of any ordinances it adopts pursuant to this subsection.

      (Added to NRS by 1991, 520; A 2005, 2570; 2007, 1253)

      NRS 540.141  Required provisions of plan or joint plan of water conservation;

review by Section; posting of plans and joint plans on Internet website.

      1.  A plan or joint plan of water

conservation submitted to the Section for review must include provisions relating

to:

      (a) Methods of public education to:

             (1) Increase public awareness of the

limited supply of water in this State and the need to conserve water.

             (2) Encourage reduction in the size of

lawns and encourage the use of plants that are adapted to arid and semiarid

climates.

      (b) Specific conservation measures required to

meet the needs of the service area, including, but not limited to, any

conservation measures required by law.

      (c) The management of water to:

             (1) Identify and reduce leakage in water

supplies, inaccuracies in water meters and high pressure in water supplies; and

             (2) Where applicable, increase the reuse

of effluent.

      (d) A contingency plan for drought conditions

that ensures a supply of potable water.

      (e) A schedule for carrying out the plan or joint

plan.

      (f) Measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the

plan or joint plan.

      (g) For each conservation measure specified in

the plan or joint plan, an estimate of the amount of water that will be

conserved each year as a result of the adoption of the plan or joint plan,

stated in terms of gallons of water per person per day.

      2.  A plan or joint plan submitted for

review must be accompanied by an analysis of:

      (a) The feasibility of charging variable rates

for the use of water to encourage the conservation of water.

      (b) How the rates that are proposed to be charged

for the use of water in the plan or joint plan will maximize water

conservation, including, without limitation, an estimate of the manner in which

the rates will affect consumption of water.

      3.  The Section shall review any plan or

joint plan submitted to it within 30 days after its submission and approve the

plan if it is based on the climate and living conditions of the service area

and complies with the requirements of this section.

      4.  The Chief may exempt wholesale water

purveyors from the provisions of this section which do not reasonably apply to

wholesale supply.

      5.  To the extent practicable, the State

Engineer shall provide on the Internet website of the State Engineer a link to

the plans and joint plans that are submitted for review. In carrying out the

provisions of this subsection, the State Engineer is not responsible for

ensuring, and is not liable for failing to ensure, that the plans and joint

plans which are provided on the Internet website are accurate and current.

      (Added to NRS by 1991, 521; A 2005, 2571; 2007, 1254)

      NRS 540.151  Supplier of water required to adopt plan to provide certain

incentives; procedure for adoption of plan; adoption of joint plans permitted.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in

subsection 5, each supplier of water which supplies water for municipal,

industrial or domestic purposes shall adopt a plan to provide incentives:

      (a) To encourage water conservation in its

service area;

      (b) To retrofit existing structures with plumbing

fixtures designed to conserve the use of water; and

      (c) For the installation of landscaping that uses

a minimal amount of water.

Ê The supplier

of water may request assistance from the Section to develop its plan.

      2.  As part of the procedure of adopting a

plan, the supplier of water shall provide an opportunity for any interested

person to submit written views and recommendations on the plan.

      3.  The supplier of water shall file a copy

of the plan with the Section for informational purposes.

      4.  The plan:

      (a) Must be available for inspection by members

of the public during office hours at the offices of the supplier of water; and

      (b) May be revised from time to time to reflect

the changing needs and conditions of the service area. Each such revision must

be made available for inspection by members of the public.

      5.  Suppliers of water:

      (a) Who are required to adopt a plan for

incentives pursuant to this section; and

      (b) Whose service areas are located in a common

geographical area,

Ê may adopt

joint plans.

      (Added to NRS by 1991, 522; A 2005, 2571)