weather icon Clear

UICN sues county over proposed well

Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada filed a lawsuit against Nye County last week seeking damages in excess of $20,000 after the company claimed the county violated a service contract with the private water and sewer utility.

The suit claims the county is withholding water rights from the Calvada Eye property promised to UICN. The county is planning to use those water rights to drill a well for the county’s own use, the suit claims.

According to a civil complaint filed Friday, UICN and Nye County entered into a written commercial water and sewer expanded services agreement on July 23, 2010 for property located at 2101 E. Calvada Boulevard.

In that agreement, UICN claims it agreed to expand upon the county’s current water and sewer services at the location on the condition that Nye County “pay appropriate fees and dedicate sufficient water rights to UICN to serve the project,” and that Nye County “shall provide additional water rights in the amount of 17.64 AFA (acre-feet per annum) or provide written documentation supporting a past dedication of an equivalent amount.”

The complaint goes on to state that county officials, including former County Manager Rick Osborne, repeatedly assured UICN that it would transfer and dedicate the 17.64 AFA to UICN and based on those assurances the company began providing the expanded services to the county prior to the dedication of the water rights.

As of Friday, UICN claimed the water rights had not been transferred to the company for the Calvada property.

“Not withstanding repeated assurances from Nye, as of the filing of this complaint, the water rights have not been dedicated to UICN. It appears that Nye has wrongfully retained the water rights in breach of the Service Agreement so that it can itself use the water rights to drill its own well rather than comply with its contractual obligations,” the complaint states. “After having received the benefit under the contract with service to the Property for more than three years, Nye advises that it has no intention of performing as required and as previously and repeatedly promised. Instead, Nye apparently has misled UICN regarding its intentions for some time in an attempt to keep UICN believing the water rights were forthcoming so that UICN would not protest Nye’s regulatory applications to drill its own well in the same vicinity.”

As such UICN filed the suit against the county for breach of contract, specific performance, injunctive relief and inverse condemnation.

“As the complaint outlines, UICN made the decision to accommodate the county request for service and activated water and sewer service to the site. That service continues today. This was done with explicit assurances from the county that the appropriate water rights associated with Calvada Eye would be forthcoming as required in our original agreement. There have been continued assurances from multiple parties at the county, however, the water rights have yet to be conveyed,” said Tom Oakley, a spokesperson for Utilities Inc. “Obviously, there are significant discussions in all quarters regarding the basin-wide water issues and related public concerns about drilling new wells. This is especially true in an area where service is already available and active and certainly seems to eliminate the need to drill yet another well.”

“Our goal all along has been to work cooperatively with the State Engineer and Nye County toward a solution that is good for the entire community. And as always, we’re doing that within the parameters established by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada regarding our rate structures, service requirements, etc. We always prefer negotiated solutions over litigation, but have been unsuccessful — despite repeated efforts — to reach resolution on this one,” Oakley added.

District Attorney Brian Kunzi, however, said the suit stems from an ongoing dispute between the county and utility concerning payment for water used for irrigation purposes.

“The county and UICN have had an ongoing dispute concerning the payment for water used for irrigation purposes. The county believed they would be allowed to pay an agriculture rate, which UICN claims was disallowed by the PUC. The county has made the decision to install a well to provide irrigation water at the Calvada Eye property. UICN believes it has the right to force a transfer of water rights for water service that will no longer be necessary even though all water service has been paid by the county. The county does not have an obligation to transfer publicly owned water for service that UICN cannot force the county to accept. The water rights UICN are expecting to receive for no cost is for water at the Calvada Eye that will not be used by UICN,” Kunzi explained.

UICN is seeking an amount in excess of $10,000 for general, compensatory and consequential damages and an amount in excess of $10,000 for special damages. Additionally UICN requested injunctive relief, reasonable attorney’s fees, fees for cost of suit, prejudgmental interest and any other legal relief the court may find proper.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Little League strikes back after county action

Pahrump Valley Little League plays its games at Ian Deutch Memorial Park. In fact, its address is listed as 1600 Honeysuckle Street, the park’s address. This is not a secret.

Nye County Treasurer’s trust auction set

Those with a bit of extra cash to invest who are looking to find themselves a good deal on some land in Nye County have just a few days left to prepare for the upcoming Nye County Treasurer’s Trust Property Tax Sale, which is set to take place next weekend.

3 family members die in US 95 crash

An Arizona man is facing numerous felony charges for his alleged role in a two-vehicle, head-on collision that killed three Victor, Idaho residents who were all family members.

Nevada seeking poets for laureate position

Art takes many forms, including the written and the verbal, and those with a passion for language, for the rhythm and rhyme of words, for the cadence of speech, often seek to express that passion in the form of poetry.

Hiker dies in Death Valley

An Arizona congressional staffer has died after he and a female companion went on a hiking excursion in Death Valley National Park.

Going back to school: Tips on how to pay for it

Going back to school can help you advance in your job, re-enter the Pahrump workforce, or support a second act as you chart a completely new career. But what are the right strategies adults should keep in mind to help manage education expenses?

Temporary reduction for businesses

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced guidance under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act of 2020, which gives breaks to businesses for certain expenses.

Nevada named top mining destination

Nevada has been named as “the world’s top mining destination,” according to the 2020 survey of resource and exploration companies released by the Fraser Institute.

Cegavske, state Republican Party duel over censure resolution

The Nevada Republican Party defended its Saturday vote to censure Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske over her handling of fraud allegations in the 2020 election.