For more than eighty-eight years, water has been supplied to the Town of Gardnerville through privately managed companies, first by the Virginia Ranch Cattle Company, Inc., then the Brockliss family, and now the Gardnerville Water Company.
Many of the water issues that confronted the Virginia Ranch Land and Cattle Company, Inc. and the Brockliss family in the early 1900’s confront the Gardnerville Water Company today. The primary issue then and now: How to preserve a high standard of water quality while serving a growing vibrant community.
Water is a finite resource. Gardnerville has an arid climate with periods of drought. The sheer beauty of the Carson Valley and its rural qualities beckon people to settle in the area. These conditions require wise water management, both quantity and quality, with an eye to the future needs of the community.
The Gardnerville Water Company is a non-profit company owned by the property owners of Gardnerville. The assets of the water company include its natural resource – water, the infrastructure that supports the delivery of water to Gardnerville, and the citizens who own and operate the water company.
The Gardnerville Water Company's service area continues to grow, as does the amount of water pumped each year in the water company service area. In 2004, the seven production wells owned by the water company produced approximately 400 million gallons of water distributed to the customers. The Gardnerville Water Company, as of December 2016, has 2,375 water service connections including 350 commercial, 82 irrigation, and 1,943 residential connections. The residential connections equate to a population of approximately 4,553 using 2.5 persons per household as an average. Conservation of the precious resource, water, is and will continue to be one of the main goals of the Gardnerville Water Company.
In 1991, the Nevada legislature passed Senate Bill 360, which mandated that all water suppliers establish conservation plans to protect valuable water resources. The use of water meters was included in the Gardnerville Water Company’s Conservation Plan submitted and approved by the State in 1992. The Water Company determined that requiring customers to pay for actual water usage was an effective method for encouraging conservation. Use of water meters makes every customer aware of his or her own water usage. Conservation efforts and results are readily discernible in the form of lower water bills.
Beginning in 1995, all new developments within the GWC district were required to install meters as part of their construction project. Thus, the new property owners paid for the cost of the meter. For those properties developed prior to 1993, the water meter and meter pit were paid for by the water company’s Capital Improvement Fund. The cost at that time for installing one meter and meter pit was $445. The Gardnerville Water Company installed most of these meters, without hiring additional employees.
Water pumpage within calendar year 2000 totaled 548,000,000 gallons. Water pumpage in calendar year 2001 totaled 413,000,000 gallons. The reduction in usage between the two years is indicative of conservation by GWC water customers and more awareness of water usage.
As Gardnerville has grown over the past decades, the Gardnerville Water Company has focused on preparing for the impact of growth on the Water Company’s water supply and delivery infrastructure. Every year GWS staff and Board of Directors review a Capital Improvement Plan that allows for better water supply and delivery. The Gardnerville Water Company recognizes that it must be out in front of growth, not lagging behind in preparing for the future. Water companies that have not been out in front of growth, struggle with inadequate infrastructure to safeguard the quality of the water. They also risk not being able to provide adequate water flow for fire protection and other emergencies.
The Water Company reviews the Town of Gardnerville Streets Capital Improvement Project list yearly to determine if a waterline improvement project can be completed ahead of planned street improvements. This coordinated effort between the Water Company and the Town of Gardnerville ensures that street improvements are only completed once.