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VVWD Board to Host State Water Engineer, Finalize Budget
Posting Date: 05/17/2012

By Barbara Ellestad

The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Board of Directors will meet in special session today, hosting Jason King, State Engineer from the Nevada Division of Water Resources (DWR), and Dan Bright, U.S. Geological Survey, Nevada office. They will discuss the possible USGS support for a definitive hydrologic study of Basin 222, and possibly Basin 221, to determine probable sustainable water yields.

VVWD General Manager Ken Rock has been pushing for such a study over the last year, first with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and then the USGS.

In his background memo to the Board of Directors, Rock explains that "the value to the VVWD of having a definitive sustainable value and permit for Nevada's part of that basin resource is almost priceless in terms of our being able to make the most practical and economic planning decisions for the District and our community. It would also be as close to incontrovertible evidence as we could hope for to bring to other state Divisions of Water Resources for establishing agreed sustainable groundwater withdrawal from this shared basin."

The Basin 222 aquifer is the main source of potable, drinking water for Mesquite and the surrounding area.

"Jason [King] has also indicated his interest in such a study, as the USGS appraisal for sustainable groundwater resources in a basin are the formation for his permitting of groundwater withdrawal. He is far from comfortable with the existing Basin 222 data," Rock's memo says.

He adds, "I believe that the most important products of your conversations with our guests are some assurances that such a study is recommended by both this USGS office and the State Engineer. An idea of the duration and ultimate cost of such a study are also essential for our budgeting purposes."

In past discussions, Rock has indicated that the cost of the study could be split 50-50 between the Water District and the USGS.

At the Board's meeting on Apr. 3, Rock proposed committing $100,000 of the new fiscal year budget to the USGS study.

At that meeting, Board member Kenyon Leavitt disagreed with Rock's proposal.

"Putting another study out there doesn't mean much," Leavitt commented.

"I don't know why we're doing this without the other stakeholders involved," Board member Ted Miller added. "They made it perfectly clear with the other study that they weren't interested."

Miller was referring to the USBR proposal in which no other water user in the surrounding area offered to join in the study that could have potentially cost the District about $1 million dollars.

Rock indicated during previous meetings that between users in the three states, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, water in Basin 222 may be over-allocated. He explained that a 1997 USGS study estimated about 18,000 acre feet of water was available in the

Basin. "Estimates of the amount of water available have been all over, ranging from 10,000 to 33,000 acre feet," Rock commented.

"I don't like funding the whole thing ourselves," Richard Bowler, Bunkerville representative on the Board commented.

Ultimately, the Board declined to fund the USGS study at its previous meetings.

The Board of Directors will also finalize the District's Fiscal Year 2012/13 budget at today's meeting. The Board hashed out the budget numbers during hearings held in March. At that time, Wes Smith, the District's accountant explained that "income versus budgeted expenditures showed a negative balance of $114,630. I went back through the various categories. We have $211,000 built into this budget for what I call 'contingencies.' When you're talking an $7 million dollar budget, we're getting pretty close. We're projecting our income at $7,026,000 plus $36,000 installation fee revenue."

Smith explained to the Board that the State does not require the District to submit a balanced budget. "The idea of a balanced budget is us being prudent. We have $7 million in our reserves so they are okay with us."

Smith is recommending inclusion of three items that affect the District's cash flow that were not previously approved by the Board:

--Adding $1,000 to Hydrological Operating Expenses to cover miscellaneous needs of the Hydrologist for the year;

--Adding $340,000 to purchase land north of the District's headquarters on Riverside Road that was recently approved by the Board;

--Adding $150,000 to cover the rehabilitation of Well #33 that was scheduled to take place this fiscal year but was pushed into the next fiscal year.

For more information regarding the budget hearings and the USGS basin study proposal see the Mesquite Citizen Journal story, VVWD Budget Hearings Conclude, Light Meeting Agenda originally published Apr. 3.

The Board will also consider approving a change order in the amount of $2,786 to the agreement with Valley Underground, Inc. for the construction of two lateral replacements in Bunkerville. The project was originally bid at $9,870.

Valley Underground, Inc. is requesting the additional money because of a delay in procuring asphalt to patch the road that was torn up to accommodate the construction project.

Originally, Valley Underground anticipated purchasing a required special mix of asphalt in conjunction with the I-15 Exit 120 reconstruction project. The company was unable to make the conjoined purchase because of a delay in the Board's original approval of the project and because the Exit 120 project proceeded more rapidly than anticipated.

"We believe that Valley Underground acted in good faith and has been a responsible contractor," when they submitted their original bid, Rock explained in his background memo for the agenda item. "Their work was completed per specifications, safely, and with minimum disruption of traffic on that road," he added.

The VVWD Board of Directors meeting begins at 5:00 pm at the District Headquarters, 500 Riverside Road, and is open to the public.


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