Guest column: Washoe County water wars | SierraSun.com

Guest column: Washoe County water wars

Diana Langs and Marge Frandsen

Why should you care as a Washoe County taxpayer if the Board of County Commissioners decides to purchase uncertificated (paper) water rights at the cost of $9.6 million using your taxpayer dollars?

In addition to the initial purchase, the cost of building the infrastructure could run an additional $20-$50 million dollars.

The purchase was proposed by Commissioner Weber, with the support of Commissioner Humke, and a $24,500 contract was awarded to a person of their choice for the appraisal of the water rights.

This action was taken even though there is no guarantee that the water rights are sustainable or potable.

Additionally, Washoe County is in the throes of getting out of the water business by merging with Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) and transferring their water rights to that entity.

Does it not seem odd that with this merger in progress that Washoe County would even consider acquiring more water rights?

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The county has cut services to our entire county. The $9.6 million could go a long way to restore more Washoe County Sheriff deputies, libraries and regional parks. The Reno Gazette Journal on Feb. 16, 2014, states Washoe County manager, John Slaughter, said that if the county buys water rights from the general fund it would have to be offset by a revenue increase or an expenditure decrease somewhere else.

Let Commissioner Berkbigler know that as an Incline Village/Crystal Bay taxpayer and resident you do not want your tax dollars spent on water rights that will never benefit you as an Incline Village/Crystal Bay resident.

She can be reached at 775-843-0150 or mberkbigler@washoecounty.us

Diana Langs was the general manager of the Sun Valley GID until retirement and was also a member of the Washoe County Water Planning Commission from the legislative inception until retirement in 2007. Marge Frandsen was a member of the Washoe County Planning Commission and Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission.