Arguments to be heard in Dayton water protests | NevadaAppeal.com

Arguments to be heard in Dayton water protests

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Oral arguments will take place Thursday before the state water engineer to clear up about 1,900 protests that have been delaying water applications in the Dayton Valley Hydrographic Basin.

State Water Engineer Tracy Taylor has ruled that full hearings weren’t necessary; he would make his decision based on the oral arguments.

Representatives from Churchill County and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe have been protesting every water change application since last summer.

Hearing officer Susan Joseph-Taylor, no relation to the state engineer, said both sides will have 30 minutes each to make their arguments, and she is unsure how many applicants will choose to speak.

Lyon County will be represented by Utilities Director Mike Workman. The county is a joint water rights holder with a number of developers. Developers, organizations and individuals affected include Aspen Creek LLC; The Connection Assembly of God; Dennis W. Smith and Marcia Bennett Smith, David D. Winchell and Sandra L. Winchell; James E. Morehouse; Daniel Hague; and Dayton Valley Investors LLC.

“I just hope there is some level of common sense that goes on,” Workman said. “I wish we could work more closely with Churchill County and the tribe on these issues.”

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He said he had a series of meeting with Churchill County officials and plans to work with them before any change applications are filed, to avoid future protests, but he has not been able to meet with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

“I’d love to be able to open up a dialogue with the tribe,” he said. “I’ve tried that on a couple of permits, but have not been successful. I’d like to be more proactive on these if the other parties are willing.”

Joseph-Taylor said it will be “quite a while” before the state engineer makes his decision. In addition to the oral arguments, he will consider documented evidence presented by those involved and has 27 applications to review.

“We don’t even see a transcript for 30 days,” she said.

Churchill County officials and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe representatives argue that any change in the Carson River upstream, negatively impacts the flow downstream. They further contend that changes in groundwater affect the river.

Don Springmeyer, attorney for the Pyramid Lake tribe, said the tribe would like to see applications halted until, what he called, overappropriation of the Carson Valley and Dayton Valley basins can be addressed.

If you go

WHAT: Oral arguments on water protests in the Dayton Valley Hydrographic Basin

WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Nevada Division of Water Resources, Richard Bryan Building, 901 S. Stewart St., Ste. 2002, Carson City

CALL: 684-2800