Officials want to confer with Guinn about Valley water |

Officials want to confer with Guinn about Valley water

by Sheila Gardner

Representatives of the Carson Valley Water Authority plan to meet with Gov. Kenny Guinn to bring the governor up to date on water issues in Douglas County.

“I’ve been impressed with the governor’s frankness, concern and leadership role when it comes to water,” said Robert Hadfield, chairman of the Carson Valley Water Authority.

The water authority met last week to discuss the apparent lack of interest in ongoing efforts to protect Carson Valley’s water supply from outside interference.

Membership has dwindled to Douglas County and the Town of Minden, and the authority discussed adding the Carson Valley Conservation District, which represents agriculture lands in Carson Valley and sets water and soil conservation goals for private land management.

“Any group that represents 250,000 acre feet of water ought to be at the table,” said Jacques Etchegoyhen, Douglas County’s representative to the water authority. “We could go to the county commission and say the biggest player in the Valley is now playing; it would be a fabulous partnership.”

n How much? Mike Sarman, CVCD chairman, asked the water authority how much money it would want the district to contribute.

“I’d love to see you there even if you didn’t bring a cent,” said Etchegoyhen.

“You’ll get willing support from the agriculture community; we simply need a way to funnel it together,” said Sarman.

The water authority will send representatives to the conservation district’s April 6 meeting.

Hadfield said the Minden Town Board, of which he is a member, is still interested in belonging to the water authority, but is concerned about the entity’s future when the CVWA runs out of money. The Gardnerville Town Water Co. recently dropped out, and the county’s general improvement districts have declined to join.

The water authority’s professional staff have agreed to work temporarily without being paid, but Hadfield said that is not a solution.

“Our (Minden) board can’t do this all by ourselves,” Hadfield said. “It’s an effort we want to see continue but we want a financial commitment from a broader target of interest.”

Etchegoyhen said he could only speak as one commissioner, but he would take a funding request to his colleagues on the board.

“There is not a venue for anything like this in the county,” Etchegoyhen said.

n No conspiracy theories. Hadfield said he didn’t ascribe to any “conspiracy theories,” but he is concerned about the future. A challenge by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to reopen the long-standing Alpine decree which regulates distribution of the Carson River has officials concerned.

“I end up on a lot of committees,” said Hadfield, also executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties. “Nobody is protecting local government. I think it’s very important to have this group stay on top of these water initiatives and have impact. They (the government) always ask for input after they come to these decisions and they never change their minds.

“This Valley would be a great little project for somebody who decides we need some help,” Hadfield said.

“There’s nobody safe in the process. We need to identify the problems, we need to identify the solutions,” Hadfield said. “The pressure from downstream for our water is going to continue. Maybe there is another way to structure this. Nobody wants to do anything until their ox gets gored, and maybe the money’s there and maybe it’s not,” he said.

“My concern is that everybody looks at their own ledger sheet. They think they don’t have a lot to lose, that there’s no value to this. I think that’s the wrong approach. We have to think globally, to think that anything’s possible. We have to be the best of the best.”

Etchegoyhen agreed.

“The government is good at seeing the wolf at the door and very bad at looking for termites in the basement. Water is the only issue in Nevada,” he said.