By Mark Waite
State studies show recharge in Pahrump Valley is primarily from winter precipitation in the Spring Mountains, but a proposed water conservation plan released by Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada states the groundwater isn’t susceptible to significant fluctuations in water level caused by a three-year drought due to the lag time between recharge in the Spring Mountains and movement into the basin aquifer.
Water levels on the valley floor are declining more than a half foot per year while on the alluvial fan they are recharging at a rate greater than one foot per year, UICN states.
UICN says drought mitigation measures can be implemented when the States Drought Response Committee declares a drought.
In the event of a stage one drought, UICN could prohibit outdoor water use between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; permit outdoor water use three days per week; require on/off nozzles on hoses for vehicles; prohibit washing building exteriors; prohibit irrigation flooding and water running off properties; require leaky faucets, sprinklers or plumbing fixtures to be repaired within 24 hours; require recirculating pumps on evaporative coolers and encourage restaurants to serve water on request.
A stage two drought alert would further reduce the frequency of outdoor water use; require new landscaping to comply with ordinances; ask customers to voluntarily reduce water use 25 percent; institute drought rates and reduce water for street cleaning and landscaping public parks.
Mandatory retrofits of shower heads and toilets when buildings are remodeled would occur in a stage three drought, laws requiring swimming pool covers and a prohibition on running water fountains. A stage four drought would trigger a ban on using water outdoors except twice each week to irrigate vegetable gardens and a weekly watering of bushes and trees.