Wade Poulsen, the general manager of the Lincoln County Water District (LCWD) presented a conceptual plan for the Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) to provide water to the Toquop Township area of Lincoln County at the VVWD board meeting on July 15.
The agreement would allow for the construction of up to 1,000 homes in the area that is adjacent to the north side of Mesquite. The water would be supplied by VVWD for a period of 20 years while the LCWD constructs a 30 mile-long pipeline from the Tule Desert water source. The estimated cost of the water line could exceed $30 million according to Poulsen.
If built, the initial development could add over 2,000 residents to Lincoln County.
Poulsen told the board “This is a conceptual proposal.” Poulson said the agreement could be a “win-win” for both districts and is needed if there is going to be development in the area.
The total area of Toquop Township, which has a master plan, is over 13,000 acres. To be developed, the area would eventually need the pipeline from Tule Desert, where the district has 5,000 acre-feet of water available.
“The main purpose of this is to have interim water available until the pipeline is built,” said Poulsen. The request is for 1000 equivalent dwelling units (EDU) of water. VVWD currently has about 3,000 EDU of water that is not committed to other uses or developers.
LCWD would pay a wholesale rate of $500 per acre-foot for water provided by VVWD. “We do not expect the rate payers of Virgin Valley Water District to subsidize us in any way,” said Poulson. The agreement would also provide that LCWD would pay all applicable fees and charges in accessing the water.
As part of the proposal, LCWD would also pay for a new well on the north side of Mesquite, which is part of the capital improvement plan for VVWD and could cost as much as $8 million. The funding for the project would come in part from developer impact fees, some of which would be passed on to VVWD.
For the VVWD the project would generate as much as $250,000 annually for water that currently not being used, according to Poulson. “Also, there would be an increase in system capacity that would be developed inexpensively for the district, Poulson told the board.
Mesquite resident Nancy Hewitt asked if the agreement was in place “would we have water available for our own economic development?” Poulsen said that his request would be for “only about one-third of the water currently available.” He also suggested that by connecting the Tule Desert water source to VVWD, there could be additional water for Mesquite to grow in the future.
Board member Kraig Hafen, who also serves on the Mesquite city council, said that the city was open to discussion as sewer and other services would also be required. “While I don’t mind discussion, at the end of the day our responsibility is right here,” said Hafen.
The board then authorized VVWD general manager Kevin Brown to continue discussions with Poulsen and report back to the board.