YERINGTON - Rolling A ranch owners said they intend to sell a portion of groundwater rights held in joint ownership with Lyon County.
According to an agreement between the county and ranch owner Christo Bardis, Lyon County has first right of refusal in any sale of the water rights on the 6,600-acre former cattle ranch. Bardis has presented plans to develop homes on a portion of the ranch.
Bardis intends to market 100 acre feet of groundwater to an unnamed buyer for $2,700 per acre foot. Jeffrey Kirby, president of Resource Management and Development Inc., said the county has 30 days to notify Bardis of its intent.
The first right of refusal provision was placed in the agreement to provide the county the opportunity to prevent the sale of water to downstream users to the detriment of the Dayton Valley Basin.
Dennis Smith of Western Engineering and Surveying Services, responding on behalf of Lyon County, wrote Kirby on Feb. 2 that as half-owner of the water rights, Lyon County must approve the sale and "any application to change being filed without the county's knowledge will be protested."
Smith said Monday he has been told the water is being sought by purchasers of the Hughes Sand and Gravel operation in Dayton.
"Mr. Hughes is not selling the water rights with the business, so the buyers need water," Smith said. "We just want them (owners of the Rolling A) to be up-front, open and honest with us. They should have just told us up front it was for the gravel operation."
Commissioners on Thursday will discuss whether to purchase the water rights.
The Lyon County Commissioners meet in the Courthouse Annex, 31 S. Main St., Yerington, beginning at 9 a.m. For information, call 577-5037 (Dayton/Silver Springs) or 463-6531 .
What: Lyon County Commission
When: 9 a.m. Thursday
Where: Courthouse Annex, 31 S. Main St., Yerington