Lawsuit settlement includes water system consolidation
if you go
What: Douglas County Board of Commissioners
When: 1 p.m.
Where: 1616 Eighth St., Minden
Settlement of a federal lawsuit may end up forcing the county to consolidate its Tahoe and Carson Valley water companies.
Customers of the Cave Rock Water System sued the county in April 2016.
Cave Rock residents accused the county of charging them for the construction, maintenance and operation of the neighboring Uppaway system.
On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners will discuss a settlement of the lawsuit and entering into an agreement to consolidate all of the county’s water systems.
According to a report issued by Chief Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie, while there won’t be any immediate water rate increases as a result of the settlement, future rates could be affected.
“The central theme of the Cave Rock customers’ claims is that they have improperly been charged for the cost of the construction, maintenance and operation of water system infrastructure that does not benefit them and that the county has selectively chosen one group of water customers to subsidize another group of water customers, while not requiring other county water customers to participate.”
Cave Rock litigants were seeking more than $3 million, including damages.
However, they’ve offered to drop the lawsuit if the county consolidated all of its water systems.
Douglas County operates three water systems at Lake Tahoe and a half dozen in Carson Valley. Consolidating the water systems does not mean they’ll all be connected.
The county provides water to much of the Johnson Lane area not on wells, portions of Genoa, Sheridan, Jobs Peak and a few smaller communities.
It has been four years since county commissioners voted to create two water funds, one for Carson Valley and the other for Lake Tahoe. At the time, Carson Valley residents protested including the Lake Tahoe systems, due to the added cost.
Most people with water service in Douglas County receive it from one of the independent taxing districts, Minden or the Gardnerville Water Co.