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Water rates head to county

In a literal definition of pass-through, Douglas County will be discussing increasing the cost of Minden water on Thursday.

The town supplies water to the county, Indian Hills and Carson City, but that water is delivered through pipelines owned by the county.

The town approved new rates in July after negotiating with the county and two municipalities.

Those negotiations resulted in the reduction of the rate for the first fiscal year to be at 68 cents per 1,000 gallons of water instead of 71 cents.

Rates will be effective retroactively to July 1.

The county’s share of the new rate is just under 10 cents per 1,000 gallons for the first two years, then climbs to 13 cents.

That means the rate to Indian Hills will be 77.9 cents per 1,000 gallons, according to a report prepared by County Public Works Director Carl Ruschmeyer.

During the summer, 90 percent of the water pumped by the town is delivered by the county for sale elsewhere.

During 2015, the town delivered 4,745 acre feet of water to the county, while using only 1,442 acre feet.

An acre foot contains 325,851 gallons. A single acre foot of Minden water delivered to Indian Hills will cost $253.

Town projections are that the amount of water sent to the county will increase over the next five years.

In 2015, Minden Town Manager Jenifer Davidson told county commissioners chlorine and power costs had been underestimated after the town pumped 30 percent more water north than it expected.

Minden inherited substantial water rights from the Dangbergs, who founded the town 110 years ago.

In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency reduced the amount of naturally occurring arsenic allowed in drinking water by a fifth.

While many systems blended their water to reach the new requirement, both the East Valley and Indian Hills were over the limit.

Providing water to those areas and Carson City turned out to be a way Minden could put its water rights to beneficial use.