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Workshops on water set

by Sheila Gardner

Customers of Tahoe Basin and Carson Valley water systems maintained by Douglas County are invited to two workshops next week to discuss water conservation plans mandated by the State of Nevada.

Douglas County Associate Civil Engineer Craig McNeil said the Community Development Department has prepared draft water conservation plans for both the Valley and the Tahoe Basin.

“These plans were developed to bring Douglas County into conformance with the requirements of the Nevada Revised Statutes,” McNeil said. “These water conservation plans will affect all water systems owned and maintained by Douglas County.”

The Tahoe Basin workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the Douglas County Lake Administration Building, 175 Highway 50 in Stateline. The Valley session will be Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m., at commission chambers in the old courthouse, 1616 8th St., Minden.

“We want to meet with all the water purveyors and customers to get some input and do some brainstorming,” McNeil said. “This is meant to be a workshop. We’re hoping for written responses and comment. Even though we appear to have a good supply of water now, it’s important to conserve.

“What happens, you go through a specific process. First, there is a workshop, then a response period. Then, the state reviews the plans. If the state has comments, they send them back to the board of commissioners for final approval,” he said.

McNeil estimated it could take three to four months to complete the process.

The draft includes a drought contingency plan with three stages with trigger points identified for each stage. When water systems operators and managers determine that a trigger point has been reached, they will bring data to county commissioners. The board will decide what level of drought should be declared.

The drought warning stage begins when precipitation is below normal. The severe drought stage begins when groundwater levels are below normal. The final stage – the emergency drought stage – will exist when groundwater levels are significantly below normal and there are significant unmet water needs within the county.

With each stage, the restrictions become more severe.

McNeil emphasized the draft applies only to customers of county-maintained systems. Municipal systems, such as Minden, Gardnerville and the Ranchos, are not affected by the county conservation plan.

The plan also addresses adult and youth education programs and landscaping.

For information, contact McNeil at 782-6207.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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