Ranchos starts water meter push
March 8, 2016
An estimated 1,900 water meters are expected to be installed in the Gardnerville Ranchos over the next year by the general improvement district that serves Douglas County's largest community.
Ranchos residents received a letter from the district recently outlining the program designed to put more than 4,000 homes on meters by March 2017.
If successful, the district could save up to 30 percent in its water usage, District Manager Bob Spellberg said.
The cost of the meter will depend on the installation work required.
"It depends on what is in the ground when we inspect each house," he said on Monday. "The maximum is around $450. That is if the home needs a meter lid, electronics and a meter plus $25 labor. That includes the 25 percent discount."
According to the letter, district trustees voted in January to offer a discount for residents who obtain their meters early.
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Meters ordered before the end of fall 2016 will be 25 percent off and residents will have 180 days to pay for them.
After winter sets in, there will be no discount, though residents will still have the 180 days to pay them off.
"This is the meter program to help residents get on meter for a lesser amount and eventually being able to finance the purchase," according to the letter.
Billing will shift from quarterly to monthly, Spellberg said.
Builders are required to install meters for new homes, if there are any improvements or if there's a change in title.
Spellberg said that anyone wanting to know how much metering their home will cost will have to contact the district.
According to a Lumos & Associates report, there were 4,143 service connections in the district.
All the water Carson Valley residents drink is pumped from the aquifer. Lumos reported the Ranchos has 5,054 acre feet of water rights and as of the date of the report it was using 65 percent of the total.
Population increases in the district could result in 265-593 new connections. The district's Well 5 exceeds federal arsenic standards, so only so much water can be used from that well to mix with the rest of the supply before the district starts to go over the 10-parts-per-billion limit. Combined with a projected decrease in water production by the district's wells will result in a shortage by 2018 if some means to limit water use, like meters, isn't implemented.
Minden is working on a plan to get its residents on meters by 2025. All Gardnerville Water Co. customers are already on meters.