More demand threatens Dayton’s scarce water supply |

More demand threatens Dayton’s scarce water supply

Ruby McFarland

We have had so little rain or snow this year that where there is usually new green grass, we have last year’s old dead grass. People are complaining that the bunnies are eating the bark off the trees in their yards. If we continue to remain in this dry pattern, there won’t be many plants safe from the local critters. Squirrels manage to terrorize my garden, and rabbits are plentiful in my area too.

As I’ve said many times, Nevada is a dry state – water is scarce. When we have dry years, it gets dangerously close our having no water for irrigation. This year, I have had to clean out the dry weeds so there isn’t a fire hazard.

This kind of dry year is not unusual. Dayton diarist of yesteryear, Emma Nevada Loftus, wrote of many years where water was nonexistent. Gardens suffered then too, and available water was shared to keep a vegetable garden alive.

I don’t like to harp on the water problem, but knowing the growth of Dayton Valley places a strain on the aquifers recharge cycles, I fear we could be in trouble. In the past, there weren’t as many people depending on our limited water supply so we could make it through a couple of dry years without worry.

In the old days the weather was more severe and the wet weather lasted longer. Some old-timers tell of snowfall that mounted up to the windowsills and didn’t melt overnight. Ponds froze solid. During those cold winters, the runoff recharged the river and the underground aquifers.

Can you imagine that they used to float logs down the Carson River to be used for lumber in the mines or cord wood to fire the mills? For the most part anymore, you can’t float an inner tube down the river.

The demand for water up and down the Carson River has reduced the river to a trickle by comparison. There are still ranchers along the river who depend on the water to irrigate their fields and to raise hay to feed their cattle. Unfortunately, if there’s no water, there’s no hay.

Please be aware of your water usage and maybe we won’t have to shower together.

The Dayton Museum is at Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week upon request and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out the Web site: Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.