Sparks city officials say water rights are not only hard to come by, but prices are skyrocketing…up to $20,000 an acre foot. That could mean challenges are ahead for developers on projects like the retail center planned for Sparks Marina.
RED Development out of Kansas City wants to take 96 acres and bring in national retailers and other attractions that are expected to lure millions of additional tourists to Sparks each year. The project may also include a new baseball stadium to house a professional, minor league team. But for all of this to happen, RED development has to secure about 275 acre feet of water, and must find and buy the rights from individual owners.
Sparks city officials say the developer is moving quickly to get water. They say RED development has retained a consultant, talked to water rights consolidators and will be heading to Sparks to conduct interviews and negotiate deals.
A spokesman for RED Development says they're totally committed to the project, and making progress on it. He says he doesn't believe the water rights will be an issue at all.