State water plan to go before commission |

State water plan to go before commission

by Sheila Gardner

Commissioners will take a look Thursday at a draft of the state’s water plan and how it might affect Douglas County.

“This begins to establish what is state policy on water legislation,” said County Manager Dan Holler. “There are a ton of issues out there. What role is the state going to have in regulating water? How does this translate into growth and water issues statewide, not just county-to-county.”

The state water plan has been in the works for several years. The Nevada Division of Water Planning hopes to present the document to legislators in February.

“If the document says, for example,that in the year 200-x, the state is out of water, that becomes a very critical planning process,” Holler said. “You can look at the average water use and what is the population growth and how that multiplies out.”

Holler said the issue is critical to Douglas County because of how the state water policy can impact county policy.

“For example, if you have a regulatory change that allows or requires the state engineer to eliminate water rights to get down to what they say our water availability is,” Holler said. “How does that process work if Minden and Gardnerville or the county has excess water rights and state law comes into play that says you will have no more rights issued. How do you get from Point A to Point B? That is the part that can get a little spooky.”

County commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen, who manages the Mack Ranch, said he believes the state water plan will address the competing needs for water between agriculture and growth.

“Certainly, within 20 years we’ll be out of groundwater, if not in 10,” he said. “The state is encouraging every county to have a comprehensive water plan.

“I always get nervous, though, when people talk about water in Nevada because Carson Valley is the only place that has it,” Etchegoyhen said. “We have it. They want it.”

State water planner Naomi Duerr will make the presentation to county commissioners. She also will be discussing the Douglas County socio-economic overview prepared by the Nevada Division of Water Planning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Duerr’s one-hour presentation is designed to give the board an opportunity to comment on the documents which will be used by the state in water planning.

The socio-economic overview, researched and written by Gary Horton, a Nevada water planning economist, provides information about demographics, economics, geography and water baseline information and analysis for the state and its counties.

The commission meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden. Duerr’s report will be preceded by a one-hour presentation by University of Nevada, Reno, professors Tom Harris and Ted Olsen on financial trends and indicators for Douglas County.

(See commission agenda on page 8-B.)

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