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Water rights delaying veterinary hospital

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Dr. Danny Larson and his daughter Kamalani, 2, stand on the future site of his veterinary hospital in this file photo. The building process has been delayed while water rights are being determined.
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Veterinarian Danny Larson got a crash course in water rights after finding out the commercial property he purchased “with water rights,” doesn’t supply his property.

Larson said the 1.6-acres in the 200 block of Dayton Valley Road came with 2.58 acre-feet of water rights. The problem is that the water rights are used for irrigation in Stagecoach. His Dayton Riverside Veterinary Hospital plans have been delayed.

“I was not told the rights would have to be transferred to the actual property,” Larson said. “The process could take six months or longer to go through all the hoops.”

Western Engineering in Carson City is working with Larson to begin paperwork with the state and Lyon County Utilities. They are also looking for someone who may have water rights to his property and would be willing to loan, trade or lease water with him.

Dennis Smith, firm principal with Western Engineering, said it is not uncommon for this type of circumstance to occur. He said the best thing for anyone who purchases property is to go to the state engineer’s office to determine where the water rights are and if the water is usable.

“It is a long process and if you’re not familiar with it, it’ll kill you,” Smith said. “The project is dead until it’s done. The time delay is the killer.”

In Nevada, land and water rights are separate.

“If (land owners) think they have water rights, they must have a copy of the permit from a state engineer, issued by the state (showing those rights),” said Misty Plett, administrative services manager with Lyon County Utilities. “The state controls water usage. State engineers decide who and how much water can be pumped out of the ground.”

Platt said that when the permit is turned in to Lyon County Utilities, they research it to make sure it can be used for commercial purposes. If not, it must go back to the state engineer to get changed.

“The process can then be denied or approved if there is no protest,” Platt added. “It could be six to nine months, or longer if protested.”

Larson is not discouraged and not out of work. He is making limited house calls for canines and felines.

“I can do annual exams, vaccinations, dispense and prescribe medications,” Larson said. “But no livestock and no traumas. I don’t have X-ray or surgical equipment.”

Dayton Riverside Veterinary Hospital will be a 3,500-square-foot, free-standing hospital with three exam rooms with space for a fourth. It will include digital X-ray equipment, a surgery room and separate waiting and exam rooms for healthy and potentially contagious pets.

“One way or another I will have water. It’s just a matter of when,” he said.

“I would suggest to anyone going into the commercial building process, have a water rights engineer in your budget. And know there are different types of water – ground, well, river and irrigation.”

Larson can be reached at 246-5392.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.