1. QUESTION: Where does Carson City's water come from; and how does drought affect our system?
ANSWER: Carson City utilizes water from four groundwater basins within the Carson City area. They are the Carson Valley, Eagle Valley, Dayton Valley and Washoe Valley groundwater basins. Carson City utilizes surface waters from Ash Canyon and Kings Canyon Creek, Carson River and the Marlette/Hobart system.
Carson City practices a conjunctive use management system which involves the use of surface water when available, saving the groundwater for the peak demand period and times of drought.
Carson City has an active recharge program located in the Vicee Canyon area. When excess surface water is available the City utilizes infiltration basins to bank this water in the groundwater table for times of drought.
Carson City plans to sustain drought periods by banking groundwater during average and high yield precipitation years, allowing for use during drought periods.
Although Carson City has experienced drought years, by utilizing conjunctive use water management, Carson City was able to pump less groundwater during the drought period compared to groundwater use prior to adoption of this type of water management.
2. QUESTION: How much water does Carson City have, how much is it currently using, and what population can it support?
ANSWER: Carson City currently owns 16,928.07 Ac-Ft of water of which, to date, 16,155.07 are "usable" water rights. Presently, the City uses approximately 12,844 Ac-Ft per year. At a population of 70,000 it is predicted that the City's water usage will be approximately 16,000 Ac-Ft.
The Community Development Department has recommended that the Water Utility plan for a population of 75,000 people; therefore, the Water Utility will need to acquire an additional 1,000 Ac-Ft. The Water Utility also has available 3,200 Ac-Ft of water rights, which cannot be assigned to new development, but can only be used for emergency purposes and system safety factors, such as in times of severe drought.
3. QUESTION: How does the Water Utility plan it's infra-structure expansion and water rights acquisition program?
ANSWER: The Water Utility has planned it's entire infra-structure expansion and water rights acquisition program in accordance with the 3% growth management ordinance.
Each year the Operations Director prepares a Water Assessment Report for the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors outlining the City's water rights and production needs for a five year time frame. This report budgets for the City's current water usage, assigns water to all available buildable parcels and lots, and estimates future commercial/industrial developments' water usage, therefore, providing an accounting of water rights remaining for new development. This type of procedure, on an ongoing basis, allows Carson City to adequately plan it's growing infra-structure requirement and water acquisition needs.
4. QUESTION: If all growth stopped in Carson City, could I water my lawn every day?
ANSWER: No, Carson City implemented the three days a week water schedule for water management purposes. Presently, Carson City's water usage during the winter is 6.5 million gallons per day and in the summer months the usage increases to approximately 27 million gallons per day. Obviously, this increase is due to outside irrigation. The three days a week water scheduling allows the peak day demand on the system to be less, requiring less infra-structure (i.e., wells, storage tanks, booster pumps, etc.), which would be required to deliver the water to the customer, resulting in substantial rate increases.
Shaving the peak load allows for less infra-structure. Remember, the majority of the City's water infra-structure is unused during fall, winter, and spring months due to the low water used. By increasing the peak demand, more capital investment would be required. Carson City residents enjoy low water rates in comparison to other communities in Nevada and the Western States, due to this water management practice. The current delivery system has been designed with the odd and even day irrigation concept.