MOUND HOUSE - This community east of Carson may benefit early on from a plan for a regional water distribution system in the Carson River Basin.
Since 1993, when Mound House's wells went temporarily dry due to a prolonged drought, the community's water needs have been a prominent concern.
The Carson Water Subconservancy District's focus is now centering on Mound House as they move forward with plans for a regional water distribution system within the Carson River basin.
As part of the district's plans, Chuck Zimmerman, senior hydrologist with the engineering firm of Brown and Caldwell, this week presented the Carson City/ Mound House portion as the first of several engineering studies for the regional system.
An analysis of all available current information regarding existing groundwater and surface water permitted rights, average precipitation and flow rates, maps depicting gauging stations and municipality boundaries within all areas of the district was completed in June.
As the first project of Phase II, Zimmerman said, "Mound House is not necessarily the number one priority, but they are one of the top two or three."
The proposed waterline would follow Highway 50 east, tying into the Carson City system at Deer Run Road and extending to a storage tank in the Carson Highlands area of Mound House. The connection is intended to meet current and future water demands for Mound House, including fire flow requirements and meet the proposed build-out along the eastern business corridor in Carson City through the year 2050.
Mound House is currently served by several small wells and a supplemental we'll located in the Dayton area. Zimmerman said those wells located in American Flats north of the community are unreliable and have an arsenic problem.
Subconservancy District manager Ed James said the proposed project would result in increased flexibility for water supply to both communities during emergencies, such as droughts and power failures. The next step will be to determine how to meet the costs of the project.
"We are just beginning the process. There is no commitment at this point, but we must look at the costs," James told the board. "We will be researching grants as well as other options. The whole purpose is to have joint benefit for all.
"Hopefully, in a year or two we will have a project going."
Board member and Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz said his fellow commissioners have bought into the concept and "Once we identify the needs of all the counties the funds will follow."
Other board members, however, expressed concern over potentially divisive regional battles when discussion begins on the subject of transferring water from one basin to another.
Carson City subconservancy representative Greg Smith advised, "When this moves into the political realm, it will be the subject of considerable debate."
Douglas County representatives concurred.
"We are all dependant on one another, but I think there will be a fight ahead," Douglas County Commissioner Bernie Curtis warned.
Milz urged continued accord, stating, "This board has been united up to this point. I hope we keep a regional outlook."
Depending on the chosen alternative, estimated costs of the Carson City/Mound House project range from $2.7 million to $3.2 million.
In January, when the four county subconservancy district determined to move forward with Phase II, other priorities agreed to included:
-- Douglas/Carson City - Linking the two counties to allow water to be moved between them when necessary. Though Douglas County has plenty of water, there is concern over how Douglas County will meet new federal standards on arsenic levels in the water.
-- Marlette/Hobart Reservoirs - Creating additional storage to be used as a source of additional water for Mound House and other areas.
The Carson Water Subconservancy District is comprised of representatives from Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Churchill Counties. It was formed to foster cooperation toward the conservation, development and protection of the water resources of the upper Carson River Basin.