Minden ups water rates to Carson City, Indian Hills

Ten million gallons of water a day are flowing north through the Heybourne pipeline, supplying the north Valley, Indian Hills and Carson City.

That’s three times the amount of water that will be flowing in the Carson River come the end of summer.

On Wednesday, Minden Town Board members approved a rate increase for all three of their wholesale customers.

Minden supplies water to Douglas County, which then retails it to customers in the North Valley.

Attorney Ryan Russell said that officials from the county, Indian Hills and Carson City were involved in the negotiations prior to the approval of the new rates.

Those negotiations resulted in the reduction of the rate for the first fiscal year to be at 68 cents per 1,000 gallons of water instead of 71 cents.

By July 1, 2021, the wholesale price of water will be $1 for every 1,000 gallons.

That cost includes the price of pumping the water north, paying off a loan used to build the system.

Rates for Minden residents will also increase, effective Thursday, to 62 cents per $1,000 gallons. By July 1, 2021, residents will pay 73 cents per $1,000 gallons.

County Manager Larry Werner and Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie attended Wednesday’s meeting. The only member of the public to comment on the proposal was Minden resident Bob Pohlman who expressed concern for the amount of water being pumped out of Minden.

“What is Minden’s obligation to supply water to the rest of the county?” he asked after the meeting.

Without Wednesday’s approval, the town’s retail water system would experience a $220,000 deficit by July 1, 2017.

In 2015, Minden Town Manager Jenifer Davidson told county commissioners chlorine and power costs had been underestimated after the town pumped 30 percent more water north than it expected.

During the summer, 90 percent of the water pumped by the town is delivered by the county for sale elsewhere.

During 2015, the town delivered 4,745 acre feet of water to the county, while using only 1,442 acre feet.

An acre foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to the depth of a foot.

Town projections are that the amount of water sent to the county will increase over the next five years.

Engineer Bruce Scott said he was pleased with the performance of Well No. 10 during the month of June, which has been operating 24/7 for the last few weeks.

Town Superintendent of Public Works JD Frisby said the well has been producing 9,000 gallons per minute.

Minden inherited substantial water rights from the Dangbergs, who founded the town in 1906.

Around the turn of the century, the Environmental Protection Agency reduced the amount of naturally occuring arsenic allowed in drinking water by a fifth.

While many systems blended their water to reach the new reqirement, both the East Valley and Indian Hills were over the limit.

Providing water to those areas and Carson City turned out to be a way Minden could put its water rights to beneficial use.


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