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Nye County’s population to rise to 88,000 by 2060, officials said

Nye County’s population is projected to grow to 88,000 people by 2060, according to preliminary data from the Nye County Water Resources Plan update.

MaryEllen Giampaoli, environmental compliance specialist, gave the Nye County Water District Governing Board an overview of the Nye County Water Resources Plan update at the meeting on Monday.

“The heart of the Water Resources Plan are the population projections, the socioeconomic assessment and the calculation of future water demand, because that’s what everybody wants to know, how many people are we going to have and how much water we are going to use in the next 50 years,” she said.

Population projections

Giampaoli said the annual population growth rate in Nye County currently stands at 1.5 percent.

“That’s probably different from what the state of Nevada is saying today or tomorrow, but this is what we’ve gone with and it looks to fit fairly well,” Giampaoli said.

By 2060, the population of the county will rise to about 88,000 people.

“The majority of those 88,000 people are likely to be in Pahrump. These projections don’t really distinguish other than to take everything accumulated as one number,” Giampaoli said.

“Some of those folks are on public water supply systems, some of those are on domestic wells and they have different per-capita rates. So I had to make some assumptions there, I took the per-capita rates for the domestic water supply wells self-served, I used the state engineer’s estimate of a half-an-acre foot per year for domestic well, U.S. Census Bureau estimate for the number of persons per household, and using that, we came up with 184 gallons per person per day,” she said.

Per capita water demand in the county stands at 268 gallons per day per person from public water supply systems. Meanwhie, the number of people served by public water supply systems is increasing, Giampaoli said.

“By the time you get to 2060, our projection says that the majority of people will be served by public water supply systems and we will have a small residual number of people on domestic wells,” she said.

Water demand

By 2060, the county’s water demand will increase by about 27,000 acre feet per year, according to the plan.

“In 2010, we had a total demand of 105,000 acre feet per year. Looking forward to 2060, that takes it up to about 132,000 acre feet per year,” Giampaoli said.

She said she took the numbers for commercial and industrial, agriculture, mining and public use out of Jason King’s 2014 report on 2013 groundwater pumpage, the only document that establishes water use by basin.

“I took those numbers for commercial and industrial and agriculture and mining and public use, and I held all of those constant to public use commercial and industrial combined as about 4,400 acre feet a year. The others, which include mining and federal uses, I held constant at about 8,900 acre feet per year,” Giampaoli said.

Development scenarios

Also included in the plan were development scenarios for the use of federal land and infrastructure.

“We talked about federal facilities and federal land uses. We know there’s a lot of activities on federal lands, so we tried to get some numbers there. We think perhaps Yucca Mountain will come back. That’s actually included in there, that somewhere down the line we will see Yucca Mountain come back to life,” Giampaoli said.

Additionally, the report assumed a five percent per-year growth in tourism, five new, renewable energy facilities in the next five years and four additional oil wells in Nye County.

“These would be hydro-frack operations, based on what I’m looking at on the oil and gas leasing happening in the northern part of the county. There seems to be a lot of activity with the leases,” Giampaoli said.

The plan also has speculations about a new airport in Nye County.

Oz Wichman, interim general manager of the Nye County Water District Governing Board said the county will also see to an account for the increase of three percent in agriculture.

“We are seeing some activity in the area of people filing for supplemental water rights, and these do have an impact on the groundwater resources and our basins in Nye County,” Wichman said.

A public draft of the Water Resources Plan update will be available for public review at the beginning of February 2017, officials said.

The final Water Resources Plan update be available for NWDGB and the Board of County Commissioners’ acceptance between February and March.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com

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