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Ryan Collins, general manager of the Pershing County Water Conservation District in Lovelock on Oct. 3, 2023.
(David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

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To tackle groundwater overuse, Nevada takes new approach: buying back farmers’ rights

The Pershing County Water Conservation District’s headquarters in Lovelock sits off Interstate 80 a few miles before the Humboldt River disappears into a desert sink. Farmers here have priority rights to water in times of drought, according to the laws that govern the Humboldt River, which rises in northeastern Nevada and cuts a meandering blue line through valleys of sagebrush. But despite their high-priority rights, these irrigators face shortage after shortage.


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