Few things are more terrifying than running out of water in the desert.
During the recent Pioneer Day celebrations in Panaca, that’s exactly what almost happened. While this could have spelled disaster, the ways in which this crisis was avoided were, according to Panaca Farmstead Board president Kim Lee, “Nothing short of a miracle.”
A problem with the town’s water supply was discovered around midday July 19 during a standard check by Brian Simkins. As the rest of the town was gearing up for the holiday weekend, the check revealed that the pump for the primary well had failed and the storage tanks were dangerously low. The pump at the emergency well was started and valved in to supply water to the system only to find that a fitting was leaking underground and only about half of the well’s production was getting to the tanks.
The Farmstead, knowing that the repairs would take days or longer, reached out to Anzalone Pumps, Inc. in Cedar City, Utah. The board was shocked to find out that a repair crew could arrive on-site early Saturday morning because Anzalone just so happened to have a crew in the area. As a result, the next day, repairs were under way.
The next major obstacle the crew faced was the lead time on materials required to repair the well and get things up and running again. To the repair crew’s surprise, the Farmstead had everything needed to get water pumping back into town. These materials had been purchased in the past exactly for such an emergency.
Several residents stepped up and offered support, some working all day alongside Anzalone, providing their skills and tools.
As the new pump installation was progressing, the tank level began to fall rapidly, and it was discovered that the emergency pump had shut off. The Farmstead used the Reverse 911 system, as well as Facebook and written notifications at places like the LDS church, the Panaca Market and other areas, to help inform the community, and the community responded in kind by lessening the flow of water as best it could.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office got involved, as did Lincoln County Emergency Management. Eric Holt went to Pioche with a water truck and brought back water for the “Money Grab” traditionally held during the celebrations. The BLM brought in trucks to provide water for the fireworks, and Panaca’s own fire department was quick to come to the community’s aid as well. And, not a moment too soon; the emergency tank had less than two feet of water left when the main well was coaxed back to life.
Kim Lee, as well as all of the members of the Farmstead Board, along with all the people in Panaca who were faced with this scare, want to thank those that went out of their way to help the community. Kim Lee put it best when he said, “They went above and beyond for us.”
Anyone interested in signing up for the Reverse 911 system (which informs the public of emergencies in their area) should visit https://lincolncountynv.org/departments/ sheriffs-office/codered/ for more information.