Lyon County is the fastest-growing county in the state and one of the fastest-growing in the nation.
With more and more large developments being built, many longtime residents of Central Lyon County are wondering if there is enough water to sustain the growth.
Mike Workman is director of the county's Utilities Division Public Works Department, which provides water and wastewater service to more than 3,500 customers in the Dayton and Mound House areas.
Is there enough water to sustain the large developments proposed for Central Lyon County?
As presented in our recently adopted Water Facilities Master Plan, a conjunctive use plan is being developed that will allow us to serve our customers by using permitted surface water rights in conjunction with our groundwater rights. New developments, regardless of size, are required to provide water rights. A comprehensive groundwater monitoring program is also being implemented that will allow us to collect accurate data including, but not limited to, water levels in the aquifers and water quality.
What are the prospects for more water for communities on the Highway 50 Corridor?
There is only so much water and, as we all know, some people along Highway 50 have experienced dropping water levels in their wells. I think that water management planning by hydrographic basin and/or by service area in the case of water purveyors is absolutely critical. There is no easy or immediate fix for falling groundwater levels.
Do you support the concept of the regional water department or authority?
I do not know enough about a regional water authority to have a strong opinion. I do support working closely with our neighboring water suppliers as well as the larger water purveyors in our area. There are huge benefits in being able to tap into the knowledge and experience that Northern Nevada has to offer. The depth of knowledge in our region is quite impressive.
What water equipment and/or infrastructure additions or improvements have been built or acquired in the past year?
We completed both a Water and Wastewater Facilities Master Plan that looks into the future to 2015; we built a new, 2-million-gallon water storage tank; we put a new 1,000-gallon-per-minute water production well into service; our billing staff is in the final testing phase of a new, more robust utility billing software; and we are close to finishing a retrofit program to install radio read transmitting units on our water meters.
Are there any more planned?
We have a variety of both new and replacement projects planned over the next five years. Additional infrastructure that is required to support new subdivisions is funded through connection fees that are paid prior to connection. Replacement of existing infrastructure that has reached the end of its useful life is funded through our monthly operating revenues.
How many residents have opted for the well credit program and capped their wells?
Only two so far, but the program is brand new.
Is it possible Lyon County will have to resort to mandatory conservation methods?
Anything is possible due to circumstances outside our control. A major system failure or a natural disaster might require mandatory conservation. Under normal operating conditions we have an odd/even outside watering schedule and do not allow wasting of water.
While most of our customers are water-conscious, we do have some that are habitual water wasters. Through public education, enforcement of county codes as necessary and water master planning, our goal is to insure that there is sufficient water for essential public health and safety needs at all times.