Cool water, scarce water
June 15, 2005
As the heat of summer arrives and turns the grass brown, many Nevadans’ thoughts turn to water. Or how to conserve it
Although Carson City has mandated conservation efforts, including odd/even watering days, in two Lyon County communities, those efforts are requests, not requirements.
“Ours is voluntary, but we really encourage it a lot,” said Mike Workman, Lyon County Utilities director, who manages water for the Dayton and Mound House areas. “We’re trying to balance the flows and reduce the peak demands.” He described peak demands as occurring during the heat of the day.
“We’re trying to maintain our fire reserves,” he said. “We just recently completed and got approved our conservation plan, and we will be implementing that more formally over the next couple of years.”
Workman said he believed Lyon’s water conservation efforts would probably become mandatory in the future.
“Just from a water-management and water-balancing need, I do see it becoming mandatory, like Carson’s,” he said. “But right now, we’re just trying to do some public education and to encourage people to do water conservation.”
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In May, a letter was sent to Dayton and Mound House households describing the odd/even watering schedule and offering addition conservation tips.
From May 15 to Oct. 1, residents with even-numbered addresses water on even-numbered calendar days; and those with odd-numbered addresses water on odd-numbered days. No one is to water on the 31st day of a month, and no watering should be done between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Workman also advised residents not to water if it is windy, to adjust sprinklers to avoid overspray onto concrete or asphalt, to water during the coolest part of the day or night, to repair leaks promptly, to wash full loads of clothes or dishes, and to replace old water fixtures with low-flow fixtures.
“So much of the water just gets wasted, when people don’t water on their designated days or when they overwater, it just runs down the gutter,” he said. “It’s just a terrible waste.”
In addition to the above recommendations, another way to save water is to install desert landscaping instead of a lawn, according to Truddee Arkell, manager of Dayton Valley Floral and Nursery.
Other areas of Lyon County have little or no conservation efforts.
In Stagecoach, there is no odd/even watering plan. But Teri Hurt, assistant manager of the Stagecoach General Improvement District said the general improvement district does encourage conservation.
“We don’t have any mandatory conservation methods in place at this time,” she said. “We do send out a quarterly newsletter with ways to conserve water and ways to help the environment, like to watch what kind of chemicals they use when washing their cars, but we don’t have anything mandatory.”
Silver Springs has also not had to resort to water-conservation methods, according to Don Allen, superintendent of the Silver Springs Mutual Water Co.
“We don’t have even/odd day watering as of yet, we haven’t run into a problem,” he said. “If we do, if usage does get to that point, then I will go to that, but right now we don’t have those problems.”
In the agricultural community of Yerington, conservation has not been necessary.
“We have a plan, because it is required by the state to have a drought plan. But we’re an agricultural valley and our farmers have their limits on how much water they can take out,” said Janet Sanderson, assistant city clerk. “As for local citizens, at this point we have no water controls. We’re on water meters, so they pay for what they use.”
Sanderson said the Yerington area was fortunate that, as far as she knows, it hasn’t had a drought in recent years.
In Virginia City, there has never been a need for a conservation plan. But if there were, the small community would handle it informally, according to Barbara Bowers, a clerk in the Storey County Public Works Department.
“When we have problems, we just let everyone know,” she said. “We’ve never had to ration water or do an odd/even situation on watering.”