Rainbow Bend develops problems with water supply

RAINBOW BEND: A call for residents to conserve water went out this week in Storey County's Rainbow Bend district, a small community consisting of about 300 homes on the Truckee River east of Reno. The area is served by one well and that well has developed problems.

Pat Shannon, Chairman of the Canyon General Improvement District, said water supplies are adequate for household and emergency services, like fire fighting, but not for landscaping.

The problem started with the well's original pump, which had to be replaced. The new pump isn't working properly but the problems didn't end there.

"Now, it looks like our aquifer isn't refilling as fast it should," Shannon said.

Officials speculate that the new pump is clogged with silt, but repairs can't start until next winter after the demand has decreased and the pump can be shut down for 3-5 days according to Shannon.

General Improvement District manager Dick Hoy said the drought and an overstressed system are the culprits.

"The well is getting a little slower and needs work," Hoy said. "I don't think our well is going dry. We can remediate the problem and bring it back because it's strong, but throw in the drought and you've got a real problem."

The District is required find a second source of water per an order from the Nevada State Health Department of Health. To that end, they have acquired $1.7 million in state and federal grants for the project.

To date, five wells have been dug. All came up dry but officials found an alternative, a proven 250 gallon-per-minute well in the Mustang area. Shannon said the Rainbow Bend will share the water with Mustang.

"This is a well drilled to provide water for a developer for truck terminals and will primarily service for the bathrooms," Shannon said.

The infrastructure for this new source should be completed this winter and working by next summer.

News of the shortage came as no surprise to Storey County commissioner Bob Kershaw, who said this has been a chronic problem since he took office last year, especially during the summer months.

"When I first got into office I asked the (Rainbow Bend) General Improvement District to effect a building moratorium until they get things straightened out," Kershaw said. "Now Pat Shannon has stated that they are having problems with their one and only well and is asking residents to conserve.

"The county will do what it can to help," Kershaw said. "Storey County won't allow people to go high and dry so there's no need to panic."


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