Deep well drilling for water is pricey. On October 1, Virgin Valley Water District accepted the lower bid submitted by Layne Christensen for drilling two wells this year: $4.5 million. If that amount sounds high, it simply reflects costs faced in securing water for VVWD users. Public projects costing pay prevailing wage, and with the inflation factor and other demands, VVWD will pay over $2.2 million each to drill replacement well 26A on Hardy Way and new well 34 in Lincoln County. Those figures cover only the well itself, with a second construction phase including pump houses, transmission lines and power supply to be bid out at a later date. The water sources are needed to keep ahead of the district’s growing user base, which stands at about 9,600 hookups, a growth of 3.9 per cent from the year prior.
Drilling operations for both wells will begin within about 30 days. While the drilling projects were both planned expenditures for the district and it has enough cash to complete the work,
some accounting adjustments must be made to move funds from the account allocated for the northwest water tank project in the current fiscal year. That water tank will be budgeted
in fiscal year 2021.
District manager Kevin Brown profiled the district in his annual report presented to the board on Tuesday. That report showed that VVWD pumped 6,854 acre-feet of water to its users in
fiscal year 2019 ending June 30. That translates to 2.233 billion gallons of water. Currently VVWD has eight wells in operation, with well 27A on Pioneer Boulevard temporarily offline due to a pump motor problem. All potable water in the district is drawn from its system of wells.
Looking forward to the coming year, Brown highlighted continuing well drilling and rehab projects, construction of a new tank and transmission line, and regulating the system’s pressure zones through addition of another zone as top capital projects. The district is also currently in the planning stages of renovating and expanding its headquarters building.
Brown reported that conversion to electronically monitored water meters proceeds at the rate of about 100 meters a month. Board member Travis Anderson gave kudos to the importance of the ongoing conversion as highly important to district efficiencies.
Board member Rich Bowler responded to Brown’s report by voicing appreciation for the high standard of customer service shown by the entire district staff, and board member Ben Davis
read an email from a district customer that praised the competent professionalism of the crew led by John Zarate that recently repaired a line failure. Board president Nephi Julien thanked Brown for his leadership of the district.
A summary report of the district’s annual financial audit, performed by Hinton Burdick, was given by auditor McKay Hall. He stepped through points of the purpose and findings of the full written report. Highlighting some key comparisons of results this past fiscal year 2019, with the prior year, he noted a high level of stability and responsibility in VVWD’s finances. “Staff takes its responsibility seriously,” he concluded. “The audit produced no material weaknesses or deficiencies. [ ] The district is in good shape.” The board voted 5-0 to accept the audit.