Why do water meters make sense?
Because youll only pay for what you use. If your neighbor has a half
acre of lawn and youve chosen to xeriscape and have a small drip irrigation
system, you wont have to subsidize his watering ways like you would if
you were both on flat rates. Meters discourage wasting water and also help water
officials identify leaks in the system. The worry that metered rates would be
jacked up for profit doesnt make sense now that most water is delivered
by one of two nonprofit government agencies and not by an investor-owned, profit-motivated
But if were paying for it, why should we conserve? Wont the
water we save just go to serve new growth?
No. The water saved through conservation, such as twice-a-week watering, is
stored in reservoirs for drought years or is allowed to flow down river to Pyramid
Lake, where it is enjoyed by endangered fish, shoreline wildlife and vegetation,
boaters, and fishermen. Water for new growth comes from farmers and ranchers
who have chosen to sell their land and water rights to developers. Double Diamond
and Damonte ranches were both agricultural and cattle operations before houses
were built on that land.
What happens in drought years?
When there is a drought, there is not enough water in the Truckee River or
in aquifers to meet the needs of everyone who has water rights. But that doesnt
mean your tap will go dry. There is a priority of water rights, and those with
lower priority such as small ranches irrigating with water from ditches
- will sometimes get cut off during a drought. But municipal users are
served during a drought, even if it means TMWA has to dip into its drought reserves,
including water it stores in upstream reservoirs.
But Ive heard about peoples wells going dry. Isnt that
a sign that there isnt enough water for all our growth?
The problems with wells primarily in the foothills near the Mount Rose
Highway is a separate issue. There are a number of factors for the water
levels dropping in those private wells. The five-year drought we are experiencing
caused the water levels to drop because creeks were not running strong enough
to recharge groundwater reservoirs, for instance. Some wells may not have been
drilled deep enough in the first place. Others may not have been cleaned out
or properly maintained. In other cases, there just may be too many straws
in the ground and the aquifer couldnt keep up with demand. The Washoe
County Water Resources has a program to help well owners who believe water resources
wells have adversely affected their wells.
For more information, visit these web sites: TMWA at tmh2o.com
or county department of water resources at co.washoe.nv.us/water.