Carson Looks To Buy Water From Lost Creek Reservoir

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Dealing with a continuing drought and low ground water levels, Carson City may get a boost from California's Lost Lake.

Carson City supervisors are expected to decide next week whether to buy up to 219 acre feet of water from Lost Lake in Alpine County. The cost to the city for all 219 acre feet would start at $15,300.

It would mark the second year in a row the city has purchased the water to help provide enough for residents through the winter months without dipping too far into ground water sources.

The city's water problems mirror those across the state. The four-year drought has prompted Gov. Kenny Guinn Friday to ask the federal Department of Agriculture to declare the state eligible for disaster status for all 17 counties.

The governor based his request on the recommendation of the state's USDA Emergency Board which Sept. 5 unanimously agreed conditions are severe enough to warrant the disaster designation.

The water rights at Lost Lake are owned by the Carson Water Subconservancy District, which purchased the rights in 2001.

District director Ed James told the Nevada Appeal that while the district is deciding how to use the water, it is willing to lease it to the city on a temporary basis.

The city is currently asking for a one-year lease on the water which would be released out of the lake and into the west fork of the Carson River to be delivered into induction wells in Carson.

The additional water "helps rest the water table and helps us recharge it to bring water levels up to minimize the impacts of future drought conditions," Utility Operations Manager Tom Hoffert told the newspaper.

Carson City has seen the lowest ground water levels in several years this year. Every year of drought the city loses a little bit more that is not replenished, forcing the city to pull water from a lower level. The drought has also caused several homeowners and the city problems with wells that have run dry from the drop in the water level.

The city is actively engaged in drilling test wells and the development of new production wells, Hoffert said in August. Water restrictions are in place until Oct. 1. Restrictions on waste of water exists year-round.

During the winter months, the city consistently uses 5 to 5 1/2 million gallons of water each day, Hoffert said.

"The more surface water sources we can use, the more we can let the ground water rest," Hoffert said.