Lyon commissioners to look at water transfer requests |

Lyon commissioners to look at water transfer requests

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Las Vegas isn’t the only area seeking to pipe groundwater from Nevada’s hinterlands – Lyon County developers are hoping to do the same.

Three development companies that want to move water via a pipeline from the Black Rock Desert region in Washoe and Pershing counties into Lyon and Storey counties will ask the Lyon County Commission to approve the projects.

The commissioners will consider a nonbinding recommendation to state Engineer Tracy Taylor on approval or rejection of the water transfers.

Sonterra Development Co. is planning to pipe more than 7,200 acre-feet of water into Lyon and Storey counties, a project that, according to the company’s applications with the Nevada Division of Water Resources, will take more than $100 million and about 10 years to complete.

The application states the water will be used in Fernley, Silver Springs, Stagecoach, Dayton and a section of southeastern Storey County.

Among the entities protesting the proposed transfer are Washoe County, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Bureau of Land Management, Toiyabe Sierra Club, Gerlach General Improvement District and Fascio Enterprises Inc.

Fascio Enterprises Inc., is an outfitting business for bird and big-game hunters that owns property in the region.

Mike Workman, Lyon County Utilities director, said this is the largest transfer of water in recent memory outside of Las Vegas.

“Vidler has a couple of projects going, but most of that is within Washoe County, from the north valleys into Reno,” he said. “There’s been nothing of this magnitude.”

Workman said he hasn’t spoken with the developers or engineers on these projects, so he couldn’t comment on the specifics, but said he does support transfers of water as long as it is within the same region.

“I really do think the regional solutions are the future; you can just see it,” he said. “We’re working with Carson City, Carson is working with Douglas County, now these guys are taking water from Washoe into Storey and Lyon. In general, I do support the regional approach without stripping resources in other areas.”

High Rock Holding LLC is hoping to transfer more than 20,000 acre-feet of groundwater from the same areas in the Black Rock Desert region to the same communities in Lyon and Storey counties. This proposal is being protested by Bright Holland Corp., Fascio Enterprises, BLM, Sierra Club and Great Basin Water Network, Washoe County and the Gerlach GID.

Juniper Hill Partners LLC is planning to move 20,000 acre-feet of surface water from Washoe County to the same areas in Lyon and Storey counties. That proposal is being protested by the Sierra Club and Great Basin Water Network, BLM, Washoe County, Bright Holland Corp. and the Jackson Family Partnership.

Workman said as far has he knows most of the water is not destined for a specific development, but for anticipated growth.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.