Dealing with a continuing drought and low ground water levels, Carson City may get a boost of water from Lost Lake in Alpine County to carry residents through the winter months and give the city's ground water a chance to regenerate.
The city's water problems mirror those found throughout the state. The four-year drought has prompted Gov. Kenny Guinn to ask the federal Department of Agriculture to declare the state eligible for disaster status for all 17 counties.
The governor based his request on the recommendation of the state's USDA Emergency Board which Sept. 5 unanimously agreed conditions are severe enough to warrant the disaster designation.
Carson City supervisors are expected to decide Tuesday whether to purchase up to 219 acre feet of water from Lost Lake for the second year to help provide enough water through the winter months for residents without dipping too far into ground water sources. The cost to the city for all 219 acre feet would start at $15,300.
The water rights are owned by the Carson Water Subconservancy District, which purchased the rights in 2001. While the district is deciding how to use the water, they are willing to lease it to the city on a temporary basis, said Ed James, district director.
The city is currently asking for a one-year lease on the water which would be released out of the lake and into the west fork of the Carson River to be delivered into induction wells in Carson.
The additional water "helps rest the water table and helps us recharge it to bring water levels up to minimize the impacts of future drought conditions," said Utility Operations Manager Tom Hoffert.
Carson City has seen the lowest ground water levels in several years this year. Every year of drought the city loses a little bit more that is not replenished, forcing the city to pull water from a lower level. The drought has also caused several homeowners and the city problems with wells that have run dry from the drop in the water level.
The city is actively engaged in drilling test wells and the development of new production wells, Hoffert said in August. Water restrictions are in place unitl Oct. 1. Restrictions on waste of water exists year-round.
During the winter months, the city consistently uses 5 to 5 1/2 million gallons of water each day, Hoffert said.
"The more surface water sources we can use, the more we can let the ground water rest," Hoffert said.
If the governor's request for a state disaster designation is approved, it would qualify Nevada farmers and ranchers for federal funding for a variety of programs.
State Entomologist Jeff Knight said this year's Mormon Cricket infestation is double what it was last year and now affects nearly 6 million acres. There were also several outbreaks of clear-winged grasshoppers in northern Nevada.
"Both of these infestations were most likely due to several mild winters and continued drought," Knight said. "If the current winter weather trends continue, it will add to our cricket and other drought-related pest problems."
IF YOU GO
What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting
When: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday
Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.