Might be time to thank the Pershing County farmers for refusing to drop their protest against Winnemucca Farms and their owner, U.S. Water and Land (USWAL) over their proposal to divert 300,000-acre feet of flood water from the Humboldt River. 

I am not going to waste time explaining the ecological and economic consequences of removing the flood waters from the Humboldt system.  

Anyone with more than a kindergarten education knows the answer to that.  

However, what is important is what a Pershing County farmer asked in the recent meeting concerning the pros and cons of the proposed Aquifer Storage and Recovery project (ASR).  The farmer asked if the ASR is needed for Winnemucca Farm’s possible water transfer to Fernley.  That brought a quick response from the Farm’s consultant, Jodi Stephens, “That’s completely separate from what this is and I can assure you, yes, there’s conversations going on about that but we are focused on building the ASR at this point”

Well, that Pershing County farmer couldn’t have asked a more pertinent question if he had thought hard and long for years.  Stephens had spent a lot of time in the meeting discussing the possible “pros” of the project, up to and including the fact that in times of drought, water from the ASR project might be available for Pershing farmers (for a fee of course)

Stephens let the cat out of the bag, not that we didn’t already know what their future intentions are, when she said, “there’s conversations going on.”  U.S. Water and Land is first and foremost a water purveyor.  

That’s their history, they purchase farm land to acquire the water, and when the price is right, the water goes and the farming stops - that’s their history.  

And, if they can acquire another 300,000-acre feet of water in the process, that will surely sweeten the deal somewhere down the line.  However, as long as the Pershing County Water Conservation District can keep Winnemucca Farms and the USWAL tied up in court, maybe, just maybe, the Humboldt River water system will live for another day or so.

Tony Lesperance

Paradise Valley