County now welcomes plan to import water |

County now welcomes plan to import water

Anne Knowles

The North Valleys water importation project is getting a warmer reception from county officials the second time around.

The Washoe County Commission last week heard an update on the project from executives of Vidler Water Co., the private company developing the water and infrastructure needed to deliver it from Fish Spring Ranch, 32 miles north of Reno.

“Water importation into the North Valleys is desperately needed,” said Commissioner Bonnie Weber, who represents the North Valleys.

“This is a welcomed project.”

Ten years ago, when a similar project was originally floated, it was much opposed and was eventually shot down.

What’s changed? “That fell through when the board determined it didn’t want to be in the water business” said Commissioner Jim Galloway..

“But this is different, letting a private entity get in there.”

The current project is still in the planning stages and would take at least several years to complete.

On Feb.

3, the cooperating agencies, including Washoe County and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, will meet at Reno’s Bureau of Land Management office to discuss the project’s environmental impact statement .

The tribe is still concerned that pumping in the area may reduce the water table in the Pyramid Lake area, but Steve Hartman, a vice president with Vidler, said the company is working closely with the tribe to assuage its concerns.

Hartman told the commission that Vidler would eventually return to the panel to request special permits needed to build the pipeline and pumping station.

He also reassured them that Vidler not taxpayers would pay for the project.

The proposed project involves the importation of 9,800 acre-feet of water into the North Valleys.

The original project in 1993 called for 13,500 acre-feet.