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Press release by Las Vegas Valley Water District on installation of water meters, October 25, 1955






News release by the Las Vegas Valley Water District reporting that they had formally requested the state attorney general to review and state officially the legality of the District's plans to install water meters in Las Vegas. Statement included opinions from the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers and the District General Counsel Leo A. McNamee. Document has stamp of the Union Pacific Rail Road's law department dated October 26, 1955. Also initials stamp by E. E. Bennett dated October 27, 1955.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier

Box 25 Folder 80-11 Vol. 7 of 7 Part 1 LVL&W Co. Sale of Water Production of UPRR Co.


hln001192. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Manual transcription





October 25, 1955 NEWS- for Immediate Release Inauguration of the contemplated program to install water meters in Las Vegas in the near future moved one step closer today when the Las Vegas Valley Water District made a formal, request upon Attorney General Harvey Dickerson to examine and express his official views on two separate legal opinions rendered by attorneys for the district. Both opinions hold that the District has full power to install meters and to establish and collect metered water rates throughout the entire territory served by its facilities. Today's action followed receipt of a lengthy final opinion from the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, District bond counsel, confirming in detail previous statements that the District already has the lawful right to install meters in Las Vegas, and there is no reason to await enactment f special legislation or the results of proposed test litigation. Earlier this month District General Counsel Leo A. McNamee rendered a formal opinion holding that because the District operates a publicly owned utility it is not subject to the provisions of the anti-metering law which prohibits the use of meters in cities and towns having 4500 inhabitants or more. Based on these findings and preliminary statements from O'Melveny & Myers concerning the formal opinion just received, District directors voted unanimously several weeks ago to implement its metering program as soon as all legal technicalities were out of the way. Several years will be required to complete the installation of meters after the program is actually undertaken.Page 2 - News Release Water District officials are also seeking from the attorney general a review and final clarification of an informal letter-opinion issued by his office during the last legislative session casting doubt on the District's exemption from the anti-metering law. In a recent letter Dickerson told the District that the statements made at that time were merely in response to a legislative inquiry about the necessity for a proposed statutory amendment expressly empowering the District to install meters, and did not constitute a formal ruling by his office. He also stressed the fact that the letter in question, addressed to the head of the Clark County delegation which sponsored the proposed amendment, specifically reserved the right to examine more thoroughly into the matter. His letter concluded by offering to render a detailed formal opinion upon request from the District. "The District directors are definitely of the opinion that it is absolutely essential to undertake a metering program as soon as possible," the letter to the attorney general stated. Conservation of water supply, elimination of waste and equalization of charges between the various types and classes of water consumers were cited as the reasons., The letter also called attention to the fact that District's metering policy is not a new or recent devi,opment, having been established and announced several years ago. "The plans and intentions of the District were clearly mid expressly set forth in an official statement issued when the $8,700,000 Waterworks Bonds were sold to provide funds for taking over the local water production and distribution facilities and to supplement the dwindling underground supply with Lake Mead water," the letter explained. At that time the District went officially on record with the following statement: "The Board of Directors believes that flat rates result in an uncontrollable waste of water and substantial quantities can be saved by the installation of meters. The Board at this time expects to install meters and if litigation Page 3 - News Release is instituted to prevent meter installation the District will assert and defend its right to provide metered water service. If a court holds that the District is without power to install meters within the City of Las Vegas, then it is the intention of the Board of Directors to seek the necessary legislation to authorize the District to install meters therein." During the 1955 legislative session the Clark County delegation sponsored an amendment to the water district enabling act designed to permanently eliminate any possible question concerning the legality of installing water meters in Las Vegas. The bill was passed by the Assembly but killed in Senate committee during the closing hours of the session. District officials attributed this to the lack of a clear understanding of the real purpose and intent of the proposed amendment by members of the upper chamber and insufficient time for clarification before the session terminated. NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the McNamee and O'Melveny & Myers legal opinions are available at the District office and will be furnished on request.