Washoe County To Decide On Water Export Protest

Washoe County commissioners, meeting Tuesday in Reno, are scheduled to decide whether to protest plans by developers to export thousands of acre-feet of water from two basins near Gerlach, for projects outside the county.

Critics of the plan by Sonterra Development to pump the water to Lyon and Storey counties say the amount of water that would be drawn from Hualapai (WALL'-ah-py) Flat and San Emedio (eh-MEH'-dio) Desert, on the edge of the Black Rock Desert, far exceeds the estimated amount of groundwater recharge in the area.

The water-export plan was filed by Sonterra in mid-May with the state water engineer's office. The deadline for protests is Wednesday.

The Washoe County Department of Water Resources says existing water appropriations in the two basins, mainly for irrigation, already exceed the water yields and it would be wrong to aggravate the over-appropriation problem by using the water for municipal and industrial use elsewhere.