Department of Water Resources


Water Planning - Compliance Enforcement

Mission Statement
The enforcement regulations are intended to achieve compliance with Nevada's water law within a framework that minimizes enforcement; to assure the protection of Nevada's water resources and the public welfare by promoting compliance and deterring noncompliance with the statutes, regulations, permits, certificates, waivers and orders administered and issued by the State Engineer; and to assure that if the State Engineer assesses any administrative penalties, that it is done lawfully and equitably.
Legal Authority
The State Engineer has the statutory authority under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) §533.481, §534.193, §535.200, and §536.200 to issue penalties including an administrative fine up to $10,000 per day per violation, the replacement of unlawfully diverted or wasted water of up to 200% of the amount so diverted or wasted, and recovery of the costs of the proceedings. Under NRS §533.482, §534.195, §535.210, and §536.210, the State Engineer may seek injunctive relief from the appropriate court in addition to any other remedy of law. Nevada Revised Statute §532.120 provides the State Engineer with the authority to make rules and regulations, and such regulations have been adopted under Nevada Administrative Code Chapter 532.
Alleged Violations
A violation is any act or failure to act which violates any provision of NRS for which the State Engineer has statutory authority, or which violates a provision of any regulation, permit, certificate, waiver, order or decision of the State Engineer. The Water Planning Engineer is the point of contact for the Office of the State Engineer and the public for compliance and enforcement actions and is responsible for processing alleged violations.
There are two principle ways in which an alleged violation will come to the attention of the Water Planning Engineer. The first is through the submission by the public of a formal written complaint to the Office of the State Engineer identifying the alleged violator and describing the alleged violation. Complaints are made by completing a "Request to Investigate an Alleged Violation" on the forms page under Miscellaneous Forms and filing it with this office. The second type of alleged violation is identified through recommendations made by Division staff as they are discovered through the course of performing regular duties or assigned tasks.
Alleged violators are provided reasonable opportunity to come into compliance through verbal and/or written communication; however if good faith effort toward compliance is not made, the matter can be recommended to the State Engineer for enforcement action. In some cases the matter may be sufficiently egregious to warrant immediate enforcement action.
Statutes and Regulations
Authority to Make Regulations NRS 532.120
Surface Water Additional Penalties NRS 533.481
Ground Water Additional Penalties NRS 534.193
Dams Additional Penalties NRS 535.200
Ditches, Canals, Flumes and Other Conduits Additional Penalties NRS 536.200
NAC 532 are the adopted regulations authorized by the above statutes.
Complaints can be made by completing a "Request to Investigate an Alleged Violation" on the forms page under Miscellaneous Forms and filing it with this office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions and their answers regarding compliance enforcement (i.e. "Fines and Penalties") are available on our main FAQ page here.