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7 named to new water basin board

Seven members were appointed to the Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee by county commissioners Tuesday along with three alternates.

Commissioner Frank Carbone made the motion for the appointments, which passed almost without discussion. The board will be responsible for drafting a plan for the Pahrump groundwater basin to avoid being declared a special management area by the state engineer’s office. Such a designation would allow the state engineer to appropriate water rights by priority date, under a bill passed by the state Legislature in 2011.

Three members of the board represent utility companies. They include Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada Regional Manager Wendy Barnett; Greg Hafen II, manager of Pahrump Utility Company, who is also vice-chairman of the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, and Lenny Badger, manager of Desert Utilities Inc., who was the water rights asset manager for Focus Property Group.

Representatives from the community at large include:

— Walt Kuver, who with his company Directed Solutions LLC was formerly a renewable energy consultant and water board consultant. Kuver has warned commissioners about potential groundwater shortages in the Pahrump Basin.

— Gregory Dann, a well owner who worked installing a pipeline to Yucca Mountain, was the general foreman of a pumping station for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s second straw project at Lake Mead and supervised the construction of air-cooled condenser duct work for Bechtel at the Ivanpah Solar Project.

— David Caudle, a certified quality engineer who was a U.S. Department of Energy contractor at the Nevada Test Site. Caudle wrote the time constraints being imposed by the state engineer will necessitate rapid but thorough evaluation of the options.

— Kristian Bentzen, who is on the executive board of the Nye County Republican Party Central Committee and worked in various construction jobs for Sylvania Lighting Services, Blackcreek Woodworks and was a superintendent for Medcon, a hospital construction company in Southern California.

Benzten wrote of his qualifications: “I live in the Desert Utilities tariff area on the north end of town, which will make my input to the committee distinct and different from that of a well owner or a utilities director.”

Alternatives appointed include Kenny Bent, who lists 20 years experience installing mechanical equipment for public works projects; local developer Mike Floyd, who is a pipeline contractor for UICN and Judith Holmgren, who was Grumman Aerospace’s point of contact for an on-orbit, pressurized volume on the Space Station.

Those applicants not making the cut included Bob Howard, Pahrump Town Board member Amy Riches and former board member Frank Maurizio, former Nye County Commissioner Gary Hollis, Herman Payne, Dr. Michael Jonak, CivilWise Services President Dave Richards and Helge Gerhard Gran, an offshore facilities engineering supervisor for Bechtel in Houston. Amargosa Valley Town Board member John Bosta submitted his application but later withdrew.

County Commissioner Butch Borasky emphasized he wanted results from this board.

“I’ll be monitoring this board very carefully and if I see people on that board that can’t work together and work productively I’ll bring their name forward and ask they be replaced,” he said.

County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said he felt the Nye County Water District board could have prepared a Pahrump groundwater basin management plan instead of appointing a separate committee.