County seeks bids on Calvada well

Nye County is requesting bids on drilling a 600-foot deep, 10-inch agricultural well to irrigate the Calvada Eye landscaping and to water the duck ponds.

The county budgeted $90,000 for the project. Bids will be opened Monday and will be considered by county commissioners at the first meeting in December, Nye County Purchasing Agent Judy Dodge said. Three contractors showed up at the mandatory pre-bid meeting last Tuesday.

When the county administration building was nearing completion, Nye County commissioners considered drilling their own water well and providing sewer, to service the buildings and landscaping on the Calvada Eye property. Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada Regional Manager Wendy Barnett sent the county a letter of protest, she said the county would spend $533,000 to sink their own well, as opposed to $288,500 if they hooked up to UICN.

Barnett said the county would save money on operations and maintenance, as they would pay $23,668 annually to UICN based on 2008 water consumption versus $13,500 to maintain their own equipment, but that assumes the well continues to produce. Both budgets assumed the county had to purchase and retire 85 acre feet of water rights, at a cost of $208,000 and spend $50,000 on pond repairs.

Barnett in her letter, said in conversations with county personnel, she learned the county planned to exercise water conservation and remove much of the turf at the Calvada Eye. Some of the grass has been removed around the outer ring of the Calvada Eye to save on water. Barnett wrote the county could reduce their annual water bill 53 percent if they paid UICN an irrigation rate, which would require separate metering.

In January 2010 Nye County Commissioners voted to rescind their previous vote to build their own well and septic system and sign a $30,500 contract to connect with UICN, which had no comment on this project.

The Nevada Division of Water Resources approved the application to change the point of diversion, place and manner of use of a portion of the waters of an underground source for quasi-municipal use in February. The well shall be equipped with a two-inch opening for measuring depth to water and a totalizing meter, accurate measurements must be kept of water placed to beneficial use. The amount of water is limited to 30.69 acre feet annually, one acre foot is enough to supply two families.

“We are aware of the RFP for the well but given the complexity and evolving nature of water issues in Pahrump and the county, we are not going to comment at this point,” Utilities Inc. spokesman Tom Oakley said.

Nye County Commission Chairman Butch Borasky said it will help the county avoid paying commercial water rates to UICN.