In a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 14 to discuss water pressure issues in several areas of Mesquite, the Virgin Valley Water District board ultimately decided that they needed more input from everyone in written form.
The issues at hand involve two specific areas of Mesquite: The Bella Horizon area on the northeast side of town and the Sun City area to the northwest that has yet to be developed, currently referred to Tortoise Mountain. Both developers were in attendance to talk with the district on their issues and possible solutions. The two areas are both at a higher elevation than most of the other zones in the region, making water pressure levels lower than ideal for many users.
The solutions, three in total, were reviewed in a report by Brown. The first, to install a new water tank to the north east, which would cost millions of dollars to the district. The second, to build smaller booster pump stations in various areas, costing the district around $700,000. The final option is for individual home water boosters, which would cost approximately $2,000 initially but would then cost the homeowner monthly additional power charges as the pump ran, plus normal maintenance and typical replacement as with other fixtures in the home.
It seems simple enough that the better option financially for the VVWD would be to install the individual boosters. However, as Pulte Group’s Project Manager, John Schippert, pointed out, that would nearly break the development planned for development.
“When you’re dealing with Master Plan Communities and developments, these issues come up… We need to look at the impacts. If it ends up being 300 homes and we’re looking at $2-3000 per house, we’re looking at the end of Sun City, Mesquite.”
Dale Rust, the developer for Bella Horizon also put his two cents in on the matter. With 72 lots available in his development, it would be more ideal for the individual water pumps to be installed. However, as he pointed out, that would be more of a financial shock to the current residents and it should be the water district’s responsibility to be sure that their customers have appropriate water pressures.
Board President Nephi Julien laid out his ideas on where the board needs to go next. “Let’s take care of Tortoise Mountain, take care of Bella Horizon, take care of some pressure issues in our system and set up policy firmly… What works for Bella Horizon may not work for Sun City. We need to find a cost-effective way to solve this. There are a lot of things to consider.”
His main concern was that whichever solution they decide to go with, he doesn’t want history to repeat itself. “I don’t want to be short-sighted and find a five-year solution… I want to come up with a solution that fits this valley for a long time,” referring to the history of the water flow designs over the past 150 years in the Virgin Valley area that are now causing more than enough problems for the district to handle.
“I want to hear from the engineering standpoint, management’s views, developers and the guys in the ground that have to put all of this in,” said Julien.
After an hour of conversations between the board members, developers and staff, Vice President Barbara Ellestad directed Water District Manager Kevin Brown and staff to work with the developers and crews to answer with what their ideal solution would be, stating that no one solution will make everyone happy, but everyone could live with it.