Carson, Douglas can get along after all
August 27, 2004
See? Carson City and Douglas County can get along after all. The two governments have come up with a way to put to good use 32.5 acre-feet of water rights from the Lompa Ranch. Under the plan, which still needs approval from city supervisors, Douglas County would get quasi-municipal rights to that amount of water at a well near Topsy Lane.
In exchange, Carson City gets the Lompa rights, which are agricultural. Carson’s plan is to then retire those rights, rather than attempting to convert them to municipal use.
What good does that do?
Carson City doesn’t need rights – it needs water. The reason city officials had questioned Douglas County’s purchase of the Lompa rights in the first places is that they didn’t want the water transferred out of the Eagle Valley aquifer.
Since there’s only so much water Carson City can pump from its wells, physically and legally, it helps protect its water supply by buying the agricultural rights and retiring them so no one else pumps the water.
Douglas County needs both rights and water for its burgeoning commercial develop just across the county line. It does no good for Carson City to try to hinder that development. As we’ve said before, the commercial development there does more good for the regional economy than harm. That’s why it’s encouraging to see some sensible cooperation, even if it’s only on 32.5 acre-feet of water rights.
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Douglas could work closer with the Indian Hills district, it seems to us, and that’s shaping up to be a political battle that could have far-reaching political consequences. Still, it’s clear that Douglas, Carson, Indian Hills and Lyon County must have a shared vision of the future for growth, and growth can’t take place without adequate water.