Commission OKs $20,000 to fight water grab |

Commission OKs $20,000 to fight water grab

Sheila Gardner

County commissioners voted Thursday to appropriate $20,000 to the Carson Valley Water Authority to assist in the response to efforts challenging how Carson River water is distributed.

“The quickest way to push my buttons is to talk about water,” said Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen. “This will be the best money we spend out of the water fund maybe for the next five years.”

The water authority, which consists of representatives from the Gardnerville Town Water Co. and the Minden Town Board, is coordinating the response to a request from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to reopen the Alpine Decree.

Attorney Robert S. Pelcyger of Boulder, Colo., representing the Paiute Tribe, claimed in a letter to federal officials that large quantities of the Carson River Water are being wasted, diversions and deliveries are not controlled and the constraints imposed by the applicable decrees are disregarded.

As a result of the challenge, the water authority has been mapping Alpine decree lands within Carson Valley and permits to protect the Valley’s surface and ground water rights.

“A lot of work is going to be done, has been done and really needed to be done whether there was a letter from Pelcyger or not,” Etchegoyhen said.

The county also is considering joining the water authority which was formed in 1994 to protect water resources from outside attack and provide an option for existing water users to meet future requirements.

The Gardnerville Town Water Co. owns 8,900 acre feet of underground water rights and the Town of Minden has more than 12,000 acre feet recognized by the state.

So far, the Minden has donated $20,000 to fight the Paiute challenge, and Gardnerville Town Water Co. $5,000. The water authority is budgeting about $6,000 per month, plus $72,000 so far for continued work.