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Ranchos GID puts off decision to join water authority

Michael Schneider

The Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District’s board of trustees voted to put off a decision on whether to join the Carson Valley Water Authority until after they attend the CVWA’s Oct. 21 meeting.

The decision came Wednesday night after a long, candid discussion with Jim Vasey, water consultant with the CVWA.

GRGID manager Bob Spellberg said he envisioned the authority as something completely different than what he saw in an interlocal agreement drafted by the Douglas County District Attorney’s office.

“It was drafted by the DA’s office, not the Carson Valley Water Authority,” said Vasey.

Vasey and the CVWA are currently concerned with a possible challenge for Carson Valley water rights from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. If the tribe’s attorneys are successful in gaining rights to the Carson River through the federal government, then Vasey said the consequences for the Carson Valley could be monumental as it could become arid.

Vasey said that attorneys for the tribe asked the federal government for help last December, and, thus far, there has been no action. He said Nevada’s senators, Harry Reid and Richard Bryant, have been helpful with the government.

Vasey said there is no time limit on the government’s actions, if any. But, he warned a similar situation to that which Vasey foresees in Douglas County if the tribe is successful has already happened in Churchill County.

GRGID board members said they supported the area’s fight for its water rights, but they said they are apprehensive about joining into an agreement with the county after contributing nearly half a million dollars to the county’s 210 water fund only to never reap any benefits for the Ranchos. The board also had other concerns.

“It sounds a little rough,” said Nystrom, “a little authoritarian for our comfort level. We have what we feel are good, solid water rights. I’m a little gun shy.

“‘Authority’ is not a word I like.”

“I understand your concern,” said Vasey. “If there are no economic benefits to becoming part of a regional water system, then there’s probably no need for you to join.

“If you feel your groundwater resources are not in jeopardy from the tribe, then there’s no reason to join. If you don’t feel there’s a threat from the Paiute tribe, then there’s no reason to join the CVWA.”

“Well if it gets bad, can we join in five years?” asked trustee Dewey Jay.

“I never try to put a spin on anything,” said Vasey. “You will likely be welcome if we go to litigation. We’ll all be in it.”

Board treasurer Beverly Page said she doesn’t have a problem with GRGID joining the authority, but she said she doesn’t want to use district funds to support a 5-million-gallon community water tank or to fix all the bad water systems in the county.

Page was referring to the area north of Minden along Highway 395 where the Sheridan Acres Water Co. has recently fallen into receivership as the Public Utilities Commission found it had many violations. Also, plans are in the works for possible activities with the new Jobs Peak subdivision, Johnson Lane and Indian Hills.

“Say we have an interest in showing a united front, but not wanting to participate in all areas,” said board president Bruce Nystrom. “Could we affiliate, or is it all or nothing?”

“A two-tiered system should work,” said Vasey. “It’s so important to show a united front.”

Board attorney Michael Rowe recommended that the board attend the CVWA meeting Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Gardnerville Town Water Co.

“You need to go to the meetings and voice your concerns,” said Rowe. “If they’re asking you to join, you’ve got to be there to tell them why or why not.”