By VERNON ROBISON
The Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) Board of Directors heard a series of annual reports on the overall health and condition of the district during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
In his summary of VVWD operations for fiscal year 2020-21, General Manager Kevin Brown reported that the district had pumped and distributed a total of over 2.2 million gallons, or 7,009 acre feet of water during calendar year 2020.
An acre foot of water totals 325,851 gallons, or enough to flood a parcel of land roughly the size of a football field to a depth of one foot.
Brown said that the district’s usage is in line with the trends that have been seen on water use in recent years.
“Over the last 10 years we have averaged about 6,500 acre feet per year (afy) of water pumped,” Brown said. “Then over the last five years, our trend line has grown at about 2.9 percent per year, even though the population has grown at roughly 5 percent per year.”
Brown pointed out that this is an indicator that effective water conservation measures have been taking place during that period of time.
The trendlines on numbers showing average annual water usage per home also bears out this positive effect of conservation, Brown said. Those trends show a steady decrease in acre feet use per home from about .45 afy in year 2000 to around .34 afy over the past five years.
“If you look at it, that is about three houses per acre foot that we are getting; which is really good,” Brown said. “The City of Tucson, Arizona, which is one of the more water conserving cities in the western U.S, is right at .33 afy per home. So we are really dialed in there.”
Brown said that all of the culinary water which the district currently distributes comes from VVWD groundwater sources pumped from nine different wells around the community. These wells range in production from 450 to 2,600 gallons of water per minute.
This water is drawn from a deep underground aquifer called the Virgin River Basin which stretches across a broad region and includes portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
Brown emphasized that the VVWD does not get any of its water from the Colorado River or Lake Mead.
“There is a lot of press across the nation right now saying Lake Mead is going down and that Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles areas are all in big trouble,” Brown said. “It has caused some concern from a lot of people. But it is important to note that we don’t rely on the Colorado River for our local water supply at all.”
The VVWD is allocated a total of 12,271 acre feet per year (afy) of ground water rights from the Virgin River Basin, Brown said.
Brown claimed that by all current data the aquifer is in “good shape.” This despite a lot of worries to the contrary existing in the community, he said.
“There have been a lot of studies done on our basin and, for whatever reason, a few people don’t understand them or choose not to heed their information,”…
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