Ricki Heck: NID board is listening to the community | TheUnion.com

Ricki Heck: NID board is listening to the community

Other Voices
Ricki Heck

Nevada Irrigation District is committed to building a better community, delivering quality water and supporting the region and its residents.

In the last seven months, I have been privileged to serve on the Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors, representing Division 1. There is a lot of good news to share.

Recently our board paved the way for positive policies and actions to serve our customers and watershed. I have learned in my brief time on the board that often the many good things NID accomplishes do not receive the attention it deserves.

I want to take a moment to share with The Union readers a quick snapshot of some of the most recent positive actions NID has done.

At our last Board meeting, we passed a new budget that is 5 percent less than the budget passed at the beginning of the year, while holding fixed rate increases to 5.72 percent instead of the roughly 50 percent increase initially proposed.

NID’s new budget contains the first-ever assistance for low-income customers that includes rate relief and support of our disadvantaged customers; and we kept an important credit to support our agricultural customers. We are committed to strong financial stewardship, and our current Board is making policy to support our commitments.

Our Board asked staff to consolidate the many efforts we are taking to improve the health and safety of our watershed against wildfires. I invite you to visit nidwater.com and the fire preparedness tab and see for yourself the many ways NID is working hard to protect and enhance our watershed. (See this story at TheUnion.com for a direct link).

In addition, our staff generated a comprehensive map of the locations of each of the fire hydrants within our district boundaries; one that allows anyone to “click” on an area to determine the closest hydrant in your neighborhood. This information has always been available to first responders; however, now the general public can see it and become better informed. The link to this map is https://nidwater.com/water-service/fire-hydrants-locator/.

NID takes the threat of wildfires very seriously. Not many folks know that the hydrants are served by NID’s treated water system, not the flowing raw water in the canals. As PG&E warns all of us, including NID, there may be power outages. You will be comforted to know that NID’s water system serving the hydrants has generators and redundancy built into the system to allow for such outages while still being able to deliver water. We intend to keep the water flowing in the event of wildfires and have committed the resources needed to do it.

I am very proud to report NID sponsored the first-ever scholarship for two local high school students to begin an apprenticeship within NID, including specialized training of the students’ choice. This scholarship program provided a total of $30,000 to these individuals. This is a program that provides opportunity to learn important trade skills and allow for promotion within NID should that be their goal. NID is an important job resource within our community and is pleased to provide the on-the-job training.

There is always more work to be done. A public water utility needs to be flexible, and NID’s Board of Directors is listening. Staff is working hard to respond to the many changes we are facing in our watershed. Changing how the District reacts to fires, installing more fire hydrants and much-larger pipelines and thinning forests on NID lands are just some of the other critical efforts to we are committed to.

All of these actions come at a significant cost, but NID’s commitment to our community goes well beyond providing high quality water when you turn on the tap. As you can see from NID’s ongoing actions, improving and protecting the quality of life of our families, friends and neighbors is also our mission — and passion.

Ricki Heck is vice president of the Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors, representing Division 1.


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