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Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Nevada

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The cash-strapped Moapa Paiutes made an impassioned plea for groundwater for a Calpine Corp. project to offset what they call decades of ill treatment. Possibly $200 million over 35 years in revenues from a water-cooled electricity power plant could fund new health facilities. a senior center, improved sewer lines and colleges scholarships for the tribe, Tribal Chairwoman Candice Grayman told State Engineer Hugh Ricci Dec. 8. In 1875, the Moapa were driven from their 2 million acres of ancestral lands onto what is a 70,565-acre reservation northeast of Las Vegas. "We need to send our kids to school so they can come back and help us on the reservation," Grayman said. The Las Vegas Valley Water District opposes the tribe's request. The tribe sat in the shadow of Las Vegas' ongoing economic boom, its attorney Steve Chestnut told Ricci. "They're in the basement while other people are in the penthouse ... It's in the public welfare to somehow alleviate the historic injustice that has been done to the tribe." Ricci will consider the application to pump water after he rules on competing preferred-use applications. Chestnut said the tribe could exercise rights under the 1908 Winters Doctrine -giving tribes the right to streams and rivers running through their land -if it cannot reach accord with the state of Nevada.

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