The Caliente City Council met at its normally scheduled meeting July 18 and jumped into business by discussing water rights.
From flooding in 2005, the city had to relocate one of its water wells, which, when gone through the State Engineer’s office, raised a red flag for water usage in Caliente. When the permitting for Caliente’s well No. 3 went to the State Engineer’s office, it drew further attention.
The state engineer’s office sets an amount of water usage for every citizen of different counties in the state. Caliente’s average per capita usage is much lower than the water they have available, and the State Engineer has submitted a settlement agreement to Caliente for the overage. The city needs to create a plan for the water usage to show duty tied to the water.
Caliente currently uses 400 acre-feet of water each year. Its total existing water rights are 8,199 acre feet. The proposed reduced settlement would leave only 5,718 acre feet of water, maxing out the city’s water usage around the year 2100.
City Attorney John Brown said if Caliente were to settle, they would end up giving up water rights that would hinder growth for the future, and if they lose them, they would not be able to get them back.
It was mentioned that as a municipality, the city should be able to stack its water rights, to allow them to gather more than they need for growth. However, more research was going to have to be done in order to create a plan of usage.
All were in agreement that something needed to be done so Caliente doesn’t lose the water rights, and it was emphasised to tend to the matter quickly, as this could in fact set the precedence for many other counties in the state of Nevada.
Wade Poulsen, general manager of the Lincoln County Water District, approached the council and offered any assistance for the help and growth of the water in Caliente, as well as Dylan Frehner, attorney for the Lincoln County Water District.
Tommy Rowe, former County Commissioner and former Chairman of LCWD, said, “We need to get all who know anything on water rights together.”
Mayor Stana Hurlburt said there would be a workshop in August for those knowledgeable on the subject to come together and collaborate ideas for Caliente’s water usage. She welcomed any comments on the matter to be mailed to the City Hall, PO Box 1006, Caliente, NV 89008, or to call the City Hall and speak with her directly.