Water price tied to home value

After six months of study, Minden Town Board members agreed to base the cost of water rights on the average price of a home in Carson Valley.

Consultant Lyn Norberg told town board members March 1 that the average single-family home in Carson Valley sold for $430,648 in 2005.

That figure was provided by the Douglas County Assessor's Office based on the sale of 1,041 homes throughout Carson Valley.

The board voted to sell water at 3 percent of that figure, or close to $13,000 per acre foot.

That price will go into effect July 1, and be reviewed at least once a year.

Minden water prices have been fluctuating since the town decided that $3,500 per acre foot was too low.

The board adopted a $5,000 interim figure until a rate of $10,000 per acre foot was agreed upon pending completion of Norberg's analysis of western Nevada water rates.

Norberg said the price structure offers the advantage of fairness and has a built-in inflationary adjustment.

"Between 2 and 3 percent is a very fair figure compared to what's going on elsewhere," Norberg said.

Member Bob Hadfield suggested the board present the proposal to the state water engineer.

"I like the concept of having the price of water attached to something rather than out in the air," Hadfield said. "You can adjust it up or down."

Minden owns 12,000 acre feet of water and is a major purveyor throughout Carson Valley along with the Gardnerville Water Co.

An acre foot is the volume of water sufficient to cover an acre of land to a depth of 1 foot.

It equals approximately 325,851 gallons of water, enough to supply a five-person household for one year.


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