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Nye County Water District scores its first grant

The Nye County Water District has secured its first ever grant, a fact that has officials feeling excited and optimistic about the momentum that the district is finally seeing.

“This is the first award of grant money, not through the county, that the water district has received on its own,” Nye County Water District General Manager Dann Weeks announced during the water board’s Tuesday, May 28 meeting. “When I started here almost two years ago, we were told repeatedly that we would never receive grant funding because we did not provide water, we did not have water services. So this is a huge, huge win for the Nye County Water District, for BEC Environmental and for your staff. We literally did what they said could not be done.”

Mariah Jackson with BEC Environmental also spoke on the grant, noting that the award received by the water district is a major achievement.

“This is a huge step. As we’ve been told by various other contractors, it is very hard to win one of these grants,” Jackson remarked.

Utilizing BEC Environmental for its grant-seeking efforts, the water district had requested $300,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Applied Sciences Grant. A total of $225,000 will come from federal dollars and the remaining $75,000 is to be matched through in-kind labor hours.

The funding will go toward improving the Basin #162 groundwater model, which is, as Weeks noted, a continuous process.

“You’re never finished with a model, you’re always putting new data in, so I can’t really say that this will complete the model,” Weeks stated. “However, this grant money will allow us to push the model forward to where I can start bringing analytical results before you. More than just pretty pictures, where we can start developing an actual three-dimensional model of where our water is in the basin.”

Perhaps more importantly, the grant funding is intended to allow for predictive modeling so that hypothetical water consumption at various locations in the Pahrump Valley can be analyzed. This would go a long way in helping with decision making when it comes to any project that might use a large amount of local groundwater.

“We’ll be able to impose that draw into the model and take a look at how it will affect our groundwater supplies,” Weeks emphasized.

The water district will be collaborating with the Desert Research Institute on the project, which is expected to wrap up in September 2026.

Furthermore, the improvements to the model are one of eight priorities outlined in the Basin #162 Groundwater Management Plan which the water district is now actively striving for. The inertia created by the disbanding and rebuilding of the water district late 2021 and early 2022 has been broken, Weeks noted, adding, “We have momentum now and we’re working on the actual goals that were presented in the Groundwater Management Plan… So this board should be very proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish given the adversities we’ve faced.”

For more information on the water district visit NyeCountyWaterDistrict.net

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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