UICN settles 2013 water rights lawsuit with county

Nye County settled a lawsuit with Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada that stemmed from a water rights dispute for county buildings at the Calvada Eye.

In a settlement, Nye County officials agreed to dedicate the water rights that it promised to UICN as part of the contract that both parties signed in 2010. The water rights were necessary to serve the expansion at the Nye County chambers located at the Calvada Eye in Pahrump. The lawsuit doesn’t carry a monetary compensation.

“The parties determined that the best interests of its respective citizens and ratepayers were not being served by continuing to litigate and decided to enter into a mutually-agreeable settlement,” Nye County and UICN said in a joint press release. “The parties hope that this will be the start of a more positive relationship in the future.”

One of the conditions of the written statement agreement that was executed on July 23, 2010 was the county’s dedication of water rights.

The county however, didn’t dedicate water rights after it entered into a written service agreement to receive water and wastewater treatment service from UICN for county buildings at the Calvada Eye.

Nye County officials said the county believed that it had a right to modify the agreement after signing it. The county was only obligated to deed water rights if it was going to get service from UICN, officials said. That changed when the county decided to dig its own well.

In December 2013, UICN filed the lawsuit to enforce the contract and UICN’s tariff requiring Nye County’s completion of the condition after then-district attorney Brian Kunzi told UICN that the county had would not dedicate the water rights.

UICN does need the water rights at issue, per Public Utility Commission of Nevada regulation and only asked the county to follow requirements, officials said. UICN disagreed that the county had the legal right to drill the well.

Despite using the well for partial irrigation of the property, UICN continues to provide water to the buildings and grounds.

“I am hoping that this will be the beginning of a positive change in relationships between UICN and Nye County,” UICN President Wendy Barnett said.

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

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