Carson City officials worry that water purchased by Douglas County from a Carson City ranch to supply its growing retail hub along the county line will siphon its own supplies.
Carson City engineer Larry Werner said Carson City's ground water basin is limited, "and diverting water from it could impact our ability to supply water to Carson City residents in the future."
Werner said the Lompa family approached the city six or seven months ago with an offer to sell about 30 acre-feet of water rights from the Eagle Valley Basin.
"We sat down and negotiated with them a couple of times, but they wanted about $3,000 an acre-foot, and we were only willing to pay about $2,500, or what we thought was reasonable market value, along with some trade-offs," Werner said.
"We later got a call from them thanking us for our offer and letting us know that Douglas County had come in with a higher offer," he said.
Douglas County bought about 32 acre-feet of water rights.
"That's not that much water," Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said. "The city owns the vast majority of the Eagle Valley water rights, although there are still some private owners."
Holler said the water will supplement how much Douglas County can pump out of its well in the northern portion of the county.
Douglas County must first get approval from the state engineer to divert the water and public hearings must be held.