Department of Water Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Water Rights
Do I have water rights, or does this location have water rights?

There are several information sources that can be found here.  These include but are not limited to the Water Rights Database (Permit Search and Hydrographic Abstract) and Water Rights Mapping Application.  To be certain of what you find, you should follow-up with a call or visit to the NDWR office.


To help the water rights specialist or engineer assist you, please be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible:      

  • The reason you think you may have a water right.

  • Any permit, certificate, or claim numbers you think are associated with the water right you may have.

  • Any relevant documentation (e.g., a deed) that calls out a water right or describes the land you believe the water right may be appurtenant.

The location of the property in question, preferably by Public Land Survey System description (e.g., NW ¼ NW ¼ Section 1, T.18N., R.23E., M.D.B.&M.), but at least using a description by survey, subdivision map, or parcel map.  In some cases, a county Assessor’s Parcel Number can be of use.
I think I have Truckee River Water Rights. Can I use them or sell them? Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) has a helpful webpage that answers many questions regarding Truckee River water rights.
What are the possible penalties for someone found to be in violation of water law, regulations, permit terms, orders, or other requirements of the State Engineer? Possible penalties after the regulatory process are (per NRS §533.481, §534.193, §535.200, and §536.200):
  • Payment of an administrative fine not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation.

  • Replacement of not more than 200% of the water used, wasted, or diverted; and/or

  • Payment of the costs of the proceeding, including investigative costs and attorney's fees.

When can I file Proof of Beneficial Use? After completion of the approved permitted manner of use. If a totalizing meter was required in the permit terms, then twelve (12) consecutive months of meter readings must be submitted along with the Proof of Benefical Use.

Example 1: Permit A is permitted for quasi-municipal purposes for 4 homes and a totalizing meter is required. Twelve months after completion of all 4 homes and landscaping, the Proof of Beneficial Use may be submitted along with 12 months of meter readings.

Example 2: Permit B is permitted for the irrigation of 10 acres and a totalizing meter is required. After a crop is grown and harvested, the Proof of Beneficial Use may be submitted along with meter readings for the irrigation season during which the crop was grown.
When is an environmental permit required? Pursuant to §NRS 533.4373(1), an environmental permit is required when, under order from the Division of Environmental Protection, it is required to appropriate water for treatment/clean-up and then discharge the clean water to a different source.
How do I make a complaint to the State Engineer when I believe that someone is in violation of water law, regulations, permit terms, orders, or other requirements of the State Engineer? Complete a Request to Investigate an Alleged ViolationRequest to Investigate an Alleged Violation form and submit it to the Division of Water Resources at 901 S. Stewart St., Suite 2002, Carson City, NV 89701.
Where can I read the statutes and regulations regarding enforcement? The Nevada legislature website provides links to the the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). Since the "fines and penalties" statutes were signed into law during the 2007 legislature, the language can be found under NRS §533.481, §534.193, §535.200, and §536.200. Regulations implementing these statutes are adopted under NAC Chapter 532.