Letter to the Editor – Ramaker

[Publisher’s note: Ms. Ramaker is a candidate for re-election to the VVWD Board of Directors in the November election.]

An opinion piece by Virgin Valley Water District board member Rich Bowler misrepresents my concerns about water remaining in the Virgin Valley.

Bowler says that a previous article published in the Desert Valley Times and Lets Talk Nevada, but refused by Mesquite Local News (edited by Barbara Ellestad who is also on the VVWB), was a misleading political advertisement. That is simply not true. I am running for re-election for my last term on the Board, and I speak for myself and no one else in the water district.

Bowler quotes a former headline in the DVT “State confirms no drought in Mesquite.”  Bowler should know that the headline is misleading. Experts on climate and water state that Southern Nevada remains in a drought condition. (see drought at https://www.snwa.com/ws/drought.html. What the Nevada State Water Engineer actually said in the article was: “I’m not sure how much water is in the aquifer (222) now; I couldn’t even estimate how much is there.” The article also quoted VVWD Hydrologist Aaron Bunker as saying, “It would take extensive work to figure out how much water is in the aquifer (222) right now.” This is the Basin from which all of Mesquite’s potable water is derived.

In 2012, former VVWD manager Ken Rock proposed a study of Basin 222 by the U.S. Geological Survey. Bowler, Ted Miller, and Kenyon Leavitt voted against it, thus leaving the question of available water in the hydrographic basin in question.

Bowler wants the public to believe that leasing Mesquite and Bunkerville shares of irrigation water to the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) for $1,246 per share is the way to pay for infrastructure.

Bowler insists that shares leased to the golf courses at $250 per share, as stipulated in an 8-year agreement in 2011, “are a good deal for them, and they can afford to pay more.” The majority of the board, including myself, voted to provide Pulte, Wolf Creek, and others this water because it was in the best interest for them and our community.

Bowler also says that water unused by the golf courses is wasted and ends up back in the river, but he fails to tell you that banks require a certain amount of shares to be held as collateral by some of the golf courses which operate on close margins. They require large amounts of water and cannot always predict when they will need more or less to keep the courses from drying up. There is not much that can be “worked out” as Bowler claims.

In 2014, VVWD approached Wolf Creek and Pulte to sell them the water shares they needed. After months of negotiations and what seemed like a fair agreement, VVWD backed away from the deal. Bowler complains that he can’t get cooperation from the parties who were negotiating in good faith in 2014. Is there any wonder why they won’t waste their time talking to Bowler? He also fails to mention that the VVWD in 2014 signed a 20-year agreement (with annual review) with the SNWA (not to exceed $4 million dollars) of river water to the SNWA. However, that agreement specifically stated that “Paradise Canyon and Wolf Creek and Conestoga are excluded.”

Bowler calls the amount paid by the SNWA to the VVWD “market value.” That is nonsense. The 2014 agreement specifically says “And the parties agree that the rental rate to be charged to SNWA shall not be determinative of the market rates within Mesquite and Virgin Valley generally. Rental rates for local use shall be determined to utilize local standards and input and shall not consider the rate to be paid by SNWA.”

Bowler says that the VVWD does not have shares to lease until 2019. He did not tell you about the shares that expire at the end of the month which will be raised from$250 per share per year for local users of irrigation water to the current rate established by him, Barbara Ellestad and Nephi Julian at either  $1,246 or $1,512.50  per share per year. Those shares will go to SNWA as part of the 2014 agreement. I voted against the increase.

We do not need to ruin Mesquite’s economy and run our golf courses out of business.


Sandra Ramaker,

Member Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors

(My own opinion. Does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Virgin Valley Water District or employees of the Virgin Valley Water District)

Please feel free to contact me, my phone is 702-345-2238.



  1. Rick Kammerman says:

    Ms Ramaker continues to misrepresent several facts. The most obvious is that according to the State Water Engineer and the Hydrologist quoted it cannot be determined how much water is currently in the aquifer used by Mesquite and Bunkerville. That is different that stating we are in a drought condition. No one will dispute that the State in general is in a drought, but the majority of at least LV water comes from the Colorado River, which is likely to be a problem for So Nevada in 2018. I do not plan to vote for Ms Ramaker as she seems unable to propose anything without duplicating it in a Letter to the Editor. The reason we have more that one person on the Water Board is to get input from more than one person when voting on issues. Ms Ramaker seems unwilling to note that she is generally on the losing side of most issues, which should tell her something about her philosophy. I am hopefully her replacement will confined their comments to Water Board Meetings which is what she was elected to do. The second issue is about her representation: she was elected to represent her voters not herself. She can resolve the issue discussed by publishing a list of financial supporters and amounts donated. Finally although she states she does not represent any group in the community, she ends her letter by implying that her opinion is the only one that will not …..”run the golf courses out of business.”

  2. Richard Bowler says:

    For the record:
    Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting June 7, 2011
    Page 5
    Sandra Ramaker made a motion to continue with the lease extension offers from SNWA for three (3)
    years at the new rate shown for $1,816 per year for eight (8) BIC Shares and $1,620 per year for one (1) MIC share. Ted Miller seconded the motion and it was unanimously carried.5-0

  3. lestate68 says:

    It continues to amaze me that a group of board members of the Water Board continue to act like a bunch of third graders (third grader is probably a compliment). This is serious business and should be addressed by adults with factual information. Time to get rid of all of them and vote in intelligent adults.

  4. Sandra is so full of it that it makes you sick. Why doesn’t she tell about leaving Rockland Water PUD and her state board ethics hearing. She needs to go.

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