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More solutions arise during second well owner meeting

The list of possible options for water conservation in the Pahrump Valley grew close to a 100 during the second domestic well owners’ meeting that took place on Saturday.

Dozens of Pahrump well owners packed the Bob Ruud Community Center for a second educational meeting that had been organized by Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky in an effort to address concerns associated with the Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan.

The plan that sought to address water issues in Basin 162 had been tabled by Nye County commissioners until Jan. 19 after its development had been stalled amid residents’ backlash. Many claimed that the plan had failed to address the issue and represented special interests.

During the meeting, Pahrump well owners continued venting their frustrations about the plan and making suggestions on how to address the diminishing water supply in the Pahrump aquifer.

The Pahrump aquifer currently has 60,000 acre feet of paper water rights that were given out by Nevada State Engineer Jason King that allow people to pump water that excludes domestic wells. The valley has 20,000 acre feet of recharge, according to estimates provided by several independent agencies.

King previously said the pumpage in Pahrump Valley stands between 13,000-to-14,000 acre feet. Pahrump isn’t over-pumping, however King said that over-allocated water rights in Basin 162 could bring the town to a critical level.

“We have to get this number down, we are over-allocated. This is the target, this is the bad guy,” Nye County Water District Governing Board Chair Greg Dann said during the meeting.

Among some of the most often-mentioned solutions were stopping development in town, limiting population, changing water laws and limiting water usage.

“If you really want to save this valley, what you have gone here for was rural lifestyle, stop the development. That’s the first thing you’ve got to do is stop the development. The second thing that’s got to be done, we have to get legislature put in to stop the sale of water rights,” one resident said.

The Basin 162 Groundwater Management Plan had been in the works for 21 months before it was forwarded to Nye County commissioners by members of the Nye County Water District Governing Board last October.

The revised version of the plan that seeks to regulate new domestic wells and water usage in Pahrump presented at the October meeting included recommendations for water education and importation, a limit on new domestic well usage to 0.5 an acre foot, construction of rapid infiltration basins and a water conservation plan that included restraints on water uses for agriculture, utility customers, government and school facilities.

Pahrump activist Kenny Bent, who headlined the meeting, said the proposed solutions need to be narrowed down to a smaller list.

“We don’t know what we are doing, this is an ad-hoc kind of thing. I do want to start refining some things. I think in a big room like that, you will have a lot better success broken into smaller sub-committees when we get down to refining them,” he said

Following the meeting, several well owners signed up for a sub-committee that will look into the matter at private meetings and outline some ideas for further development.

It’s not clear when next well owners’ meeting will take place.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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