Marshall plan for water importation |

Marshall plan for water importation

Anne Knowles

When talk turns to the North Valley water importation project, it’s usually Vidler Water Co., and its revised Honey Lake proposal, that gets all the attention.

But there’s another importation project in the works call it the Marshall plan.

That’s Bob Marshall, proponent of the Intermountain Water Supply Project and owner of a 2,000 acre cattle ranch in Washoe County’s Warm Springs Valley.

Marshall is working to transport about 3,000 acre-feet of water that he holds rights to and permits for in Dry Valley about 24 miles north of Reno.

His venture does not overlap the Vidler project, located about 43 miles north of Reno the straddling California border, but both projects have been placed together in an environmental impact statement, or EIS, now underway by the Bureau of Land Management.

“All the experts said [my project] could be handled with a environmental

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assessment,” which requires less time, said Marshall.

“But we got forced into a joint EIS with Vidler.”

Both Marshall and Vidler expect that the EIS, which will study the impact the projects may have on the environment, to be completed within 12 months.

Then both ventures have to obtain special use permits from Washoe County to build the infrastructure needed to pump the water and move it into the North Valleys.

After that, assuming they both pass the EIS test and get the necessary permits, it’s pure competition.

Marshall hopes he wins, since his project is closer, requires less construction and investment and provides enough water for probably at least 10 years of build out in the North Valleys.

He estimates that he can build his project for between $3,300 and $4,000 per acre-foot.

That’s his cost, says Marshall, and water rights, which he would sell to developers, are going for about $9,000 per acre-foot today.

He also has additional water – a permit pending for about 500 acre feet of groundwater in Bedell Flat, near his ranch in Warm Springs, and another 1,656 acre feet of surface water from his ranch.

The ranch water was included in the Washoe County RegionalWater Management Plan, although it said questions about water quality remained.

So Marshall is waiting on a recharge and recovery application to pump the water into and out of the ground, which he says would eliminate those concerns.

Another 200 acre feet of groundwater is is permitted in Newcombe Lake.

Marshall and Vidler have already met with residential land developers that are interested in securing water to make possible expansion in the North Valleys.

Do they care who provides the water? “They say just get me the water,” said Marshall.