Parks, Minden promise to work out well conflict
September 16, 2016
Three wells drilled by Park Cattle last summer were good water producers. So good, that Minden leaders expressed alarm.
Town Engineer Bruce Scott said the wells have a priority date that precedes the town's.
"The concern is the potential impact on the town wells associated with the use of those irrigation wells," Scott told Minden Town Board members at their Sept. 7 meeting. "There's a possibility of an impact on the town's wells."
Scott said only the town's well No. 1 has an earlier priority.
The irrigation wells are only permitted to be used during irrigation season if the Parks don't get their full allotment of surface water.
"We are in a basin that has a substantial amount of capability for sustaining pumpage," Scott said. "Our monitoring wells have not seen anything but seasonal variations in the water table since we've been monitoring wells."
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The concern is for Minden's retail water business, which supplies water to the county, Indian Hills and Carson City.
Engineer Rob Anderson said that the Parks are one of the three or four largest supplemental water rights holders in the Valley.
He estimated the total number of rights at 12,762 acre feet.
Anderson said that one of the three wells was a replacement of a well that had to be abandoned to build Monterra. Another well at Highway 395 and Muller Lane was drilled for ag purposes.
"There was no intention to interfere with the Town of Minden's wells," Anderson said. "The Parks have no interest in interfering with Minden's longterm plans to be a regional water purveyor. We would like to continue to cooperate and continue to be good neighbors."
Scott said he wrote a letter to the State Engineer expressing concerns about the wells.
"If permanent applications are filed, I recommend that if we don't have a satisfactory understanding that we protest those permanent applications," Scott said.
David Park told board members that he felt there was a good relationship with staff.
"We have a good working relationship going forward to resolve any concerns with the Town of Minden," he said.
Scott agreed that reaching an understanding with the Parks about the water would be better done earlier than later.
Under Nevada law, surface and groundwater use is based on seniority. Junior rights holders can be left without any water.
Minden wholesales water to Douglas County, Carson City and Indian Hills in a program worked out to help reduce arsenic in the water provided by those entities.
When the rates were first worked out, an agreement between all parties said that Minden would do a rate study and present the new costs in an agreement. While Douglas approved the agreement, neither Carson City nor Indian Hills have.
On Sept. 7, Indian Hills General Improvement District trustees voted to direct district manager John Lufrano to pay the first year rates under protest.
Carson City previously approved a similar response to the agreement. Both communities' officials will negotiate with Minden and Douglas County to come to a new rate.