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Read water article with open mind, not as gospel

Well folks, I hope you all read Daria Sokolova’s article in the Friday, March 11 Pahrump Valley Times entitled “Pahrump Utility Company debunks water myths” with an open mind and didn’t just accept it as gospel.

That title would lead a reader to believe that the residents, unhappy by actions of local committees and developers, are completely misguided. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In this article the statements attributed to Mr. Tim Hafen and his grandson Gregg Hafen III were left unchallenged by the reporter and need to be clarified. First, “… the Pahrump Valley isn’t running out of water” is very misleading. It is true that all of Basin 162 isn’t running out of water YET, but it will if the developers and the Nye County regional Planning Commission (RPC) have their way. Some wells in the valley floor have already needed to be drilled deeper because the levels are dropping.

Currently, with only 39,000 residents the water usage in the valley is basically in balance at 14,000 acre feet used versus 12,000 acre feet recharge. The extra 8,000 acre feet mentioned in the article flows into California and will cost millions to capture and California may object to our taking their water. The RPC has projected valley population at 100,000 to 495,000 without any regard to available water. They point to the state engineer’s issued PAPER water rights and advocate that this growth is possible with the land mass available. Gregg Hafen is the vice president of the RPC. As I have said in previous articles, a water right is only a piece of paper, not wet water in the ground. Second, the Nye County Commission appointed the Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee to develop a plan to be presented to the commission for their review. Instead, this plan is being used to push for legislation to curtail the domestic well allotment from 2 acre feet to half an acre foot. Can you imagine the outcry that would occur if the state water engineer took three quarters of all the water rights held by the utilities, developers and speculators? Gregg Hafen was also the chairman of that committee. Do you see a pattern here?

Now, in this plan they suggest that any domestic well owner that needs more water can buy a water right from them. They say there is no water shortage in the valley. Ok, I suggest the next time a domestic well drops or goes completely dry that instead of paying $20,000 to $30,000 for a new well, the owner simply pay $6,000 for two acre feet of paper water rights and his well will magically fill back to the surface. If you believe that, I have some drinking water from Utilities Inc. plant #3 that I will sell cheap. I wouldn’t drink it but you can if you are dumb enough.

RIB’s, Rapid Infiltration Basins, what are they and why are they called that? Basically a RIB system is a series of ponds for the collection of PARTIALLY treated sewer water. In the case of UICN, the ponds will collect up to ONE MILLION GALLONS OF WASTE PER DAY. The key word in RIB is rapid. These basins will rapidly force this huge amount of poison water into the drinking water of this valley. If you don’t believe it is poison, drink a glass of it straight out of the plant before it goes into the basins. Sure, “Hafen said the water has to go through 78-80 feet of additional filtration before it reaches the aquifer.” Is it really that far to the groundwater? Perhaps, but at UICN plant #3 the water level will only be approximately half that. Also, remember this filtration he is talking about is the ground itself. Once the soil is saturated with this contamination, it ceases to be a filter and starts conducting bad stuff into the drinking water that we all use. Many states have outlawed the use of RIB’s in sole source basins such as Pahrump Basin 162.

I maintain that this water should be treated in an advanced water treatment plant to potable standards, not simply to some minimum government standard, before it is put into the valley floor residents’ drinking water. Otherwise, use it only for irrigation. I understand that the water being supplied to the Artesia and Mountain Falls developments is being taken from up on the fan and will never be contaminated by these RIBs anyway.

So why have this meeting for those residents? Why not the domestic well owners down grade from these basins? It would be interesting to know if the domestic wells below the PUCI RIB’s have been contaminated. If they have, how do the residents of these two developments feel about damaging their downhill neighbors? Do they have a clear conscience?

Thank you.

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