Water study a wash

The long-awaited U.S. Geological Survey study of water usage in Carson Valley was anti-climactic at best.

We learned that both recharge and the amount of water being withdrawn from the Valley's aquifer vary from year to year.

Annual recharge ranges from 35,000 to 56,000 acre feet. Water taken from the aquifer averages between 41,000 and 44,000 acre feet, which means that some years recharge exceeds withdrawals and some years it does not.

We've already heard that water in East Valley wells had been dropping except for the one that's rising thanks to the nearby effluent pond.

One interesting fact that developing 350 acres of ranch land would actually increase the amount of water left in the aquifer, assuming of course that the development got its water from someplace other than the aquifer.

In the end, the pumpage figures will be obtained from the State Engineer, where they've been available every year for a very long time.

We favor a reasonable growth cap in Carson Valley, but we don't believe water will be much of a hook to hang it on. Certainly, the water study won't do much to contribute to the debate when county commissioners take up the issue on Feb. 1.


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