Lompas to sell water rights to city | NevadaAppeal.com

Lompas to sell water rights to city

Jill Lufrano

The Lompa family, owners of a sprawling cattle ranch in the middle of Carson City, are negotiating to sell water rights to the city as they continue to wait for the resolution of a land struggle with the state.

The city drafted an agreement, currently under review by attorneys, to transfer 32-acre-feet of water rights from the Eagle Valley Ground Water Basin purchased by the late Eva Lompa in 1992.

The family no longer needed the water for the property, officials said. The sale doesn’t mean the family plans to stop cattle ranching – for now.

“Right now, they’re basically taking it day to day,” said family attorney Laura FitzSimmons. “Sam (Lompa) is still ranching it. Until we know what NDOT is really going to do, it continues to be completely up in the air.”

Sam Lompa Jr. said it was “business as usual” Tuesday at the ranch. Cows were out grazing on either side of the property along East Fifth Street.

“I’m waiting for calves now,” Sam Lompa said.

Officials can’t reveal how much the city will pay for the water rights or any other details of the purchase until it is finalized by attorneys and presented to the city’s supervisors.

City utilities manager Tom Hoffert said the agreement may be ready for final approval by April.

“We think we’ve come up with an agreement that meets both parties’ needs,” Hoffert said.

The agreement will have to be approved by the Nevada Division of Water Resources before water can be diverted to existing or future city wells, Hoffert said.

Currently, Carson owns 6,000 acre feet of water rights from the Eagle Valley Ground Water Basin, a basin that exists beneath the city. The state allows a certain amount of water to be removed each year.

Meanwhile, the Lompa family is leaving it up to lawyers to work out what the state will pay for a swath of land cut through the property needed for a stretch of the future Carson Freeway bypass and a drainage system that goes along with it.

Nevada Department of Transportation entered the property last year by filing a court order and has started work before two sides were able to agree on a fair price for the land. The family has since entered into litigation with the state.

FitzSimmons said a trial date is set for June 1, but the family won’t know how much the state plans to offer for the approximately 82 acres needed until March. The March filing doesn’t leave much time to settle the matter out of court, she said.

“We’re going to do the best we can to negotiate in good faith,” FitzSimmons said. “If we can’t negotiate, we’re going to go to trial.”

Eva Lompa, 88, died in July as she slept in the two-bedroom house. She and Sam Lompa, who moved to the property as newlyweds in the 1930s, raised dairy cows and sheep before the family turned to cattle ranching in the 1960s. At one time, the family owned 820 acres, but the land has been sold off to accommodate the quickly growing community.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.