The cost of irrigating farmland in Bunkerville just got a lot more expensive as the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors agreed to renew a lease with Bunker Farms Inc. for two shares of water.

The lease, originally signed in 2011, charged $250 a share as did other leases for golf course irrigation. The new lease calls for a current market rate price of $1,357. The board took the action at its Aug. 6 meeting.

Bunker Farms leases an additional 35 shares of water for which the lease expires Dec. 31. The VVWD board agreed to combine the two separate leases into one that will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. To make that feasible, Bunker Farms will pay a pro-rated monthly price of $505.69 for the two shares through the end of the year.

The newly consolidated annual lease price effective the first day of 2020 will also be $1,357 per share.

The cost of irrigation water shares for Bunkerville users differs from that of Mesquite users whose market rate was set at $1,115 in March by the VVWD Board of Directors.

The cost of shares in Bunkerville Irrigation Company are more expensive than shares in the Mesquite Irrigation Company for two basic reasons. One, there are more acre feet of water in a BIC share than a MIC share. Two, BIC shares hold more pre-1929 water rights than do MIC shares.

The water rights grant date is important because older water, especially pre-1929, can be used more flexibly without as many restrictions and regulations versus more recently granted water rights.

The board also agreed to return hook-up fees paid by the new McDonald’s restaurant on South Falcon Ridge Parkway for a one-inch water meter that ultimately was not used. VVWD General Manager Kevin Brown said during the construction planning, the franchiser and construction company paid for both a one-inch line and a two-inch line.

“The one-inch line never should have been paid for because they never needed it,” Brown said. The water district has a strict policy against returning hook-up fees to developers and construction companies. “I’m asking the board to vote for a one-time exception in this case because it was clearly a mistake by several different people to have paid for the line in the first place.”

Board member Rich Bowler said, “I don’t consider this situation to be a reimbursement. I see it as a mistake.”

The total amount of fees the board agreed to return is $12,150.

The board also awarded a contract worth $97,575 to a single bidder, J&J Enterprises, for asphalt repair work on Hardy Way.

On July 11, a 14-inch transmission line near the entrance of the Suncrest subdivision broke damaging about 12,000 square feet of mostly two lanes of five-inch thick asphalt. District crews were notified at 7:30 p.m. that night and worked until 5 a.m. the next morning to repair the leak and secure the site, Brown explained.

While the contract goes into effect immediately, Brown said it might be about two weeks before the company can start on the repair work.

The board also awarded a contract worth $491,010 to Mesquite General Contracting for a pipeline project for a new well being constructed north of Mesquite. The pipeline will run from the existing Treatment Plant No. 32 site up to the new Well No. 34 site. The project also calls for grading an access road.

The waterline and access road will provide construction water and access to the site while the new well is being drilled. During well development the waterline will be used as a well-to-waste line to convey the water pumped during development to the existing discharge box at Treatment Plant No. 32 site.