Nevada town sues for rights to water leaking from US canal

US & World

Water flows through an irrigation canal in Fernley, Nev. about 30 miles east of Reno Thursday, March 18, 2021. The town founded a century ago by pioneers lured to the West with the promise of free land and cheap water is suing the U.S. government over plans to renovate the earthen canal that burst and flooded nearly 600 homes in Fernley in 2008. Residents say plans to line parts of it with concrete will eliminate leakage they’ve counted on for decades to replenish the groundwater aquifer they tap with domestic wells. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

FERNLEY, NV (AP) — A rural Nevada town founded a century ago by pioneers lured to the West by the promise of free land and cheap water is suing the U.S. government over the way it plans to renovate a 115-year-old earthen irrigation canal.

The canal in Fernley burst in 2008 and flooded 600 homes.

The Bureau of Reclamation wants to line part of it with concrete because its leaking and wasting taxpayers’ money.

But the city of Fernley says it’s been using that extra water to fill domestic wells for decades. It says it established water rights long ago and the government has never objected before.

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