Water authority wants no change in watermaster | RecordCourier.com
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Water authority wants no change in watermaster

Sheila Gardner

As negotiations for the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA) wrap up, water providers in Carson Valley are concerned that the landmark document may have an impact on management of the Carson River.

The Carson Valley Water Authority drafted a letter to Pete Morros, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, protesting a proposed change in the selection of the federal watermaster.

Under the TROA proposal, the federal watermaster would be the choice of a nominating committee made up of representatives of the federal government, California and Nevada state officials and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

The federal watermaster now is appointed by the Federal District Court.

“The Carson Valley Water Authority, as well as all of those other entities and individuals who own water rights of any type or use under the Alpine Decree, are greatly concerned about the impact this provision will have on the Carson River system,” CVWA Chairman Tom Cook wrote in the letter.

“Although it has been stated that the TROA is not intended to impact or affect the Carson River system, it clearly would, if the position of the watermaster under the Alpine Decree is changed by the TROA. As currently structured, this would be the case. The result would be that the watermaster, on both the Truckee and Carson Water systems, would be subject to appointment and consent of various parties not factually or historically associated with the Carson River,” Cook wrote.

The water authority is requesting that the provision be revised.

“The watermaster on the Carson River should continue to be appointed by and answerable only to the Federal District Court. The TROA should be modified to retain a watermaster employed by the Federal District Court on both rivers, according to the Alpine Decree and Orr Ditch Decree,” the letter says.

If TROA insists on a watermaster for the Truckee, the water authority is proposing that a separate watermaster position be retained for the Carson River under the Alpine Decree with funding provided to offset any additional costs.

The issue has become more critical to the water authority with an attempt by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to reopen the Alpine Decree which regulates distribution of the Valley’s supply of the upper Carson River. The tribe alleges that water is wasted through mismanagement and misappropriation and seeks additional water from the upper basin for the Lahontan reservoir.

Water authority officials are concerned about the influence the Pyramid Lake tribe would have on the Carson River if their representatives had a say in the selection of the watermaster who regulates the Carson.

Douglas County commissioners will discuss the water authority request during a special meeting Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Gym Playhouse in front of Carson Valley Middle School.

The water authority is made up of representatives of the Gardnerville Town Water Co. and the Minden Town Board, holders of the most extensive municipal water supplies in the Carson Valley.