Developers at the Lincoln County Land Act, known as Toquop, as well as members of the Virgin Valley Water District in Mesquite are interested in knowing what is happening at Toquop. What is needed is water.
The Lincoln County Water District is the designated provider of water for the 13,300 acres of land at Toquop, but the pipeline from the Tule Desert well, about 30 miles away, has not been built yet.
The water district board, was asked by General Manager Wade Poulsen at their Nov. 10 meeting to consider imposing a tax rate for the Toquop Township area to create a revenue stream for the Tule Desert pipeline, but the board denied that request.
Poulsen explained he has been working with and trying to negotiate with Virgin Valley Water District to temporarily provide water for developers at Toquop, until the pipeline is built.
Poulsen said for Virgin Valley Water to provide the water for the developers it would need to impose a cost to ratepayers of the VVWD, but was unwilling to do so without having some kind of guarantee that the pipeline will be built.
“Their No. 1 concern,” Poulsen stated, “is that they get stuck with serving 100, 200, 300 people in Toquop and the pipeline never gets built.”
In return, Poulsen says VVWD is asking the Lincoln County Water District to pay for a financial feasibility study on the pipeline project to be done by Hobbs/Ong & Associates, and share costs with the developers for the Nickel Creek Water Resources Study.
If LCWD does not pay for the studies, Poulsen says then there is no deal to be worked out with VVWD. And it would not be right, he thought, to impose a tax on the ratepayers of VVWD to help supply water to a development in Lincoln County.
He said he was not upset by Commissioners turning down the tax proposal, saying, “This was an idea, but there are others,” but admitted he did not know what the alternative might be to creating the money to do the studies for building the pipeline.
“If we don’t solve the number 1 concern of VVWD,” Poulsen asked, “then how are we going to negotiate temporary water service? The pipeline has to be built before one house ever being built there and who is going to pay for that?”
He said he thought putting a tax in place “would give VVWD a level of comfort that this can work, that money is being put into an account for building the pipeline eventually.”
Water board member Paul Mathews said a General Improvement District might be created, but no action was taken on that thought. Poulsen said a GID was not needed. “The water district has the same authority to impose a tax like the GID could, so why do we need another layer of government?”
He said, as manager of the Water District, he will continue to look for other possible solutions to the question, and admitted, “There are a lot of roadblocks that have to be overcome on both sides.”
One of his owns concerns is, “LCWD could spend all this money, do all the studies, and VVWD could still come back and say No, so there are no guarantees, like everybody wants.”
Several new board members come on the VVWD district in January, and Poulsen says he hopes the two districts will be able “to continue to talk, to negotiate, and be willing compromise in certain areas, then there is always a possibility of success.”
The next LCWD meeting is Dec. 1 at the courthouse in Pioche.