NID set to abandon pipe |

NID set to abandon pipe

Joe Luglan has been buying irrigation water for 34 years for his property near the Chicago Park School.

But Luglan is upset with Nevada Irrigation District officials because they’re poised to shut down the aging Smith-Moulton irrigation water pipeline that supplies 16 properties in Chicago Park, including Luglan’s.

“They’re supposed to be an irrigation company, and they’re dropping off all us little guys and building their empire,” Luglan said.

NID officials say it’s not financially feasible to fix the pipeline. The $136,000 it would cost to repair the pipeline is more than NID would earn back through 30 years’ worth of water sales, they say.

District officials also say they’re not under any obligation to supply irrigation water because NID already supplies treated water to Luglan’s neighborhood. The state ordered NID to install treated water in the 1990s because people were using the piped-in irrigation water for domestic purposes.

But Luglan, a retiree, says people can’t afford to irrigate their land with treated water. He now pays $240 for six months’ worth of irrigation water, compared to the $840 it would cost to irrigate with treated water.

Luglan was among some 15 people who met with NID officials Monday night at Chicago Park School. District officials encouraged the group to create a mutual water company and fix the pipeline themselves.

“Really guys, this is a good thing, not a liability,” said Dennis Sanders, the NID official who helps neighborhoods organize mutual water companies.

NID officials said a mutual water company could do the work less expensively since – unlike NID – it wouldn’t have to pay workers the prevailing wage. NID also gives mutual water companies a discount on irrigation water.

Residents asked a wide range of questions, including whether it would be possible to fix things by inserting a smaller new pipeline inside the aging pipeline.

NID officials promised to crunch numbers so residents would have a better idea of costs.

Residents said they might ask NID’s board of directors for a loan or other assistance if they set up a mutual water company.

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