In a special session Monday, Truckee’s public utility directors agreed to budget emergency funds to deal with a growing water shortage on Prosser Dam Road.
“How do we deal with the emergency situation of people with no water?” asked district Water Utility Manager Ed Taylor. “My understanding is that four wells have gone dry out there.”
The wells that Taylor mentioned are all clustered near the start of Prosser Dam Road. Two homeowners have redrilled their wells, and a third is currently drilling a new well. The fourth homeowner has refused to redrill.
On Monday, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board voted 4-0 to provide Taylor with $15,000 in discretionary funds to supply water to residents affected by dropping well levels in the area.
“The purpose of the fifteen thousand is to supply someone who needs water,” Taylor said. “This is a good neighbor fund.”
Taylor has the authority to spend the money in whatever way can deliver water to the residents with dry wells. Past suggestions have included a temporary, overland pipeline or the delivery of water by trucks.
A long-time resident of Prosser Dam Road, Carol Pauli, agreed to serve as a neighborhood liaison between the district and residents.
“We would appreciate a phone call; we are ratepayers,” Pauli said.
The resident who declined to drill a new well, Robert Davis, graduated from Truckee High in 1964 and moved into his Prosser Dam Road home 12 years ago. He made an impassioned speech at last week’s board meeting.
“I ran out of water on [July] 18, I ain’t got no water,” Davis exclaimed. “I don’t need to test [the productivity of his well]; I’m sucking mud.”
The next day, sympathetic neighbors brought Davis supplies that included water, said Prosser resident Maribess Sullivan.
Others in the affected neighborhood are worried, but have not reported any water problems yet. On Thursday Bruce MacKay’s well-drilling service from Reno came out to test four wells: Two on Prosser Dam Road , one on Mount Rose View and one on Little Lake Court.
The water table for all four wells averaged close to 65 feet, and each tested positive during a gallon-per-minute flow test.
Yet the positive news will not calm residents in the short run.
Some residents have asserted that a correlation must exist between The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing using a million gallons of well water per day and the dry wells that are mostly about 30 years old.
Tony Segarra, vice president of Auburn-based Gary Tanko Well Drilling, disputed these claims.
“Nevada County did a study about 10 years ago that said the life span of a well is about 20 years,” Segarra said. “In general these are shallow wells.”