Carson City officials: Water supply OK; conservation urged for future

Carson City water is like the marketing moxie in Las Vegas, a good thing here due to drought.

That was one of the tidbits that could be gleaned during a city government look at the relatively sound situation here regarding local water supplies.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or so the marketing hoopla goes, but Carson City Public Works Director Darren Schulz upped the ante with a factoid that likened Eagle Valley to a kind of sponge.

“Every drop of water that’s saved in Carson City stays in Carson City,” he told the Board of Supervisors during a water shortage and supply presentation.

City Manager Nick Marano kicked off the afternoon water review by saying city supplies are sound, despite the drought, and in comparison to California or nearby Nevada areas.

He referred to usage curtailment by 10 percent in Truckee Meadows just to the city’s north, and said the California plight during this fourth year of a drought is spawning “apocalyptic” news stories.

“Carson City is actually relatively fortunate,” he said, but still promised keen city staff monitoring of supplies. He and Schulz called for voluntary conservation by cutting usage 10 percent, with Schulz giving credit for current sound supplies to city officials’ decisions some three decades ago and since. The mayor counseled strong conservation, voiced concern about the future but stopped short of siding with calls for mandatory restraints.

Schulz acknowledged runoff from snowmelt is terrible this year, which feeds into the perception of drought-related problems being possible, and he didn’t make light of that. “It’s bleak,” he said, but added the city has groundwater and good drinking water supplies. He said city government will not only seek voluntary conservation but enforce water usage ordinances aggressively.

He mentioned the odd-even residence number requirement for watering lawns on alternating days as part of that enforcement.

Schulz said there can be temporary problems in hot months when there’s peak usage throughout the community, but he also intends an outreach public education program to combat that while promoting conservation. Some board members raised questions about using fresh water to supplement short wastewater effluent supplies provided prison farms and golf courses, noting golf courses aren’t charged.

Schulz said Public Works is just following guidance given by a board majority and pegged the cost at about $80,000 to city utility coffers.

In other action Thursday, the board engaged Sherman & Howard as bond counsel for three bond issues, two of which are refundings that may save an estimated $2.5 million eventually. Those two are for $15.2 million and nearly $6.5 million; the third is a $6 million issue in sewer bonds. The board also finalized the decision to let the Cultural Commission make recommendations on Redevelopment Authority money going for cultural or arts events.


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