TMWA Approves Purchase Agreement for Private Utility

TMWA Workers Install a Water Main Pipeline
TMWA Workers Install a Water Main Pipeline. Photo: TMWA

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) board on Wednesday approved an agreement to purchase assets of West Reno Water Company, which will allow it to provide service to the Verdi area later this year.

Assets include all groundwater rights at Boomtown, its RV park, the convenience store, Cabela’s sporting goods store, and Dermody Properties. Meridian 120 North, owned by Reno Land Inc., and proposed developments on the south side of Interstate 80 would be served as well.

TMWA initially consulted West Reno Water about a possible purchase because the private utility only provided groundwater and there was concern over long term sustainability of the groundwater resource.

The approximately $870,000 price tag consists of $700,000 in water system assets, along with legal and engineering costs, pipe casting, and easement across the Truckee River.

“The land and easement issues are complicated, but we’ve got a good hand on the water rights issue,” said John Enloe, TMWA director of natural resources, planning and management.

Facility improvements are estimated to cost TMWA between $14 million and $16 million.

Creation of a special assessment district to pay for system upgrades is almost unavoidable, TMWA board members said. Such districts enable infrastructure improvements while passing on cost to property owners who benefit.

“It will probably be a forced special assessment district,” Reno City Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus said. “We’ll have to talk about special assessment districts to property owners, so I wish we were a little further along in the process.”

Since TMWA doesn’t have authority to create such a district, responsibility would fall on municipalities.

RELATED:
TMWA to Help Fund Water Innovation Campus

“Growth needs to pay for growth,” Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said.

Reno City Councilwoman Naomi Duerr suggested the city work with experts who’ve helped set up special assessment districts in Nevada so things go more smoothly when the time comes to implement one.

Before final acquisition of West Reno Water, TMWA has a 120-day due diligence period to conduct studies, surveys, and other inspections it deems necessary at its expense.

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 392 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.