Who We Are

Home > Who We Are

The Carson Water Subconservancy District (CWSD) is a unique multi-county, bi-state agency dedicated to establishing a balance between the needs of the communities within the Carson River Watershed and the function of the river system.
  • CWSD Board of Directors consists of fourteen members with representatives from each of the six counties within the watershed and includes several agricultural representatives and one advisory member.
  • CWSD has no regulatory authority
  • CWSD funds come from ad valorem taxes and federal, state, and local grants
  • CWSD is the designated Clean Water Act 208 Planning Agency
CWSD’s mission is to work within existing governmental frameworks to promote cooperative action for the watershed that crosses both agency and political boundaries. CWSD acts as lead agency for integrated watershed planning and funds the Carson River Watershed Coordination Program, who facilitates the Carson River Coalition. CWSD strives to involve all counties and communities within the watershed in the effort to meet the various future water needs, enhance the health of the river system, protect the floodplains, and provide outreach and information to the community.

 

History Carson Water Subconservancy District

Check out CWSD timeline to learn the organization’s history.

1959 - 1989 CWSD Early Years

1959 – CWSD was formed to contract with local ranchers and farmers in Douglas and Lyon Counties to guarantee pay back to the Bureau of Reclamation for the construction of Watasheamu Dam and Reservoir. Although the Watasheamu USBR project was abandoned by the federal government in the 1980’s, CWSD continued to play a key role in the study and management of the Carson River

1985 – The Nevada Legislature appointed a special subcommittee to review the need for flood control storage and water supply in the upper Carson River above Lahontan Reservoir.  The subcommittee asked the CWSD to complete a comprehensive water resource plan including the potential for a dam at a new site.

1959Board

1989 - 1998 CWSD Purpose and Structure Remodeled

1989 – Nevada Legislation passed to change purpose and structure of CWSD pursuant to chapter 541 of Nevada Revised Statute (NRS)

CWSD was directed by the Nevada Legislature to accomplish the legislative directives with the cooperation of the involved counties by establishing a nine member Board of Directors consisting of:

  • 5 members from Douglas County, of which two members must represent the agricultural interests
  • 2 members from Lyon County, and
  • 2 members from Carson City were added.

Since Douglas County had a majority of members, Carson City and Lyon County were given veto power

1989 – CWSD was given responsibility in NRS 541 for:

  • management and development of the water resources in the Carson River above Lahontan Dam to alleviate reductions or loss of water supply
  • reducing the fragmented responsibilities for conservation and supply of water, and,
  • protecting against threats to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the Carson River Basin.

1998 – Carson River Conference was held in Carson City.

After the 1997 flood, stakeholders from throughout the watershed discussed the need for better watershed management and the idea of Integrated Watershed Management in the Carson River Watershed was concieved.  CWSD was asked to serve as the lead agency for watershed planning and management for the Carson River Basin.  As a result, full-time staff members were hired.

1998 – Carson River Coalition (CRC) formed to serve as the steering committee for watershed planning efforts.

1999 - Present

1999 – The Nevada Legislature amended the previous legislation to allow Churchill County to become a member of the CWSD,  Two Churchill County members were added to board to represent watershed below Lahontan Reservoir, expanding the board from nine to eleven members.

1999 – The Nevada Legislature assigned CWSD the task of administering the AB 380 Newlands Water Rights Purchase and Retirement Program.  The goal was for CWSD to purchase/transfer and permanently retire 6,500 acres of water rights to remove litigation filed by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe on water right owners in the Newlands Project in Churchill County.  This program was able to permanently retire approximately 4,000 acres of water rights.

1999 – Carson River Watershed Coordinator funded after CWSD received funding from Nevada Department of Environmental Protection using 319 funding.

2000 – CWSD hired Brown and Caldwell to evaluate the Marlette – Hobart Water System.

2001 – Alpine County, California joined CWSD, making it a Bi- State Agency when CWSD and Alpine County, California entered into a Joint Powers Agreement pursuant to the Joint Exercise of Powers Act (California Government Code § 6500 et seq.) and the Interlocal Cooperation Act (Nevada Revised Statutes § 277.080-277.180). CWSD Board of Directors was expanded to 13 members representing all regions of the watershed.

2003 – CWSD appointed by Nevada’s Governor as Clean Water Act – Section 208 Water Quality Management Planning Entity for the Carson River Watershed.

2003 – CWSD awarded a million dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade the Marlette Water system. As grant administrator, CWSD worked with Carson City, State of Nevada, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and others to complete this project in September 2009.

2004 – CWSD hosted the Carson River Watershed Conference entitled “Conserving Our Lifeline in the Desert Through Community Development and Floodplain Management”. Over 120 people attended representing all regions of the watershed.  This conference provided the foundation for development of a Regional Floodplain Management Program for the Carson River Watershed.

2004 – CWSD received the Wendell McCurry 2004 Excellence in Water Quality Award from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) for its leadership role to improve water quality, riparian habitat, and watershed health in the Carson River Basin.

2005 – CWSD and FEMA enter into Cooperating Technical Partner Agreement

2005 – CWSD hosted the Carson River Symposium featuring a wide-range of speakers seeking to explain the function and administration of the Carson River.  The symposium was attended by a 175 representatives from a diverse mix of public and private agencies  and organizations, education institutions, developers, and press from throughout the watershed.

2005 – CWSD completed the update of the 1982 Carson Basin 208 Water Quality Management Plan which was submitted to NDEP.

2007 – CWSD, with input from the Carson River Coalition, developed the Adaptive Stewardship Plan for the Carson River Watershed.  This plan meets the EPA’s 9 requirements to receive funding for impaired waters and allows entities within Carson River Watershed to apply for 319 funding from the EPA.

2008 – CWSD developed the Carson River Watershed Regional Floodplain Management Plan, with input from the Carson River Coalition.  This plan was adopted by all five counties located along the Carson River.

2009 – Storey County added an advisory member of the CWSD.  Its representative on the CWSD Board is appointed by the Storey County Board of Commissioners.

2012 – CWSD, the various counties located along the Carson River, State and Federal agencies entered into a Risk MAP Charter agreement with FEMA.  The Charter agreement enables FEMA and CWSD to work on flood related issues on a watershed basis instead on a county by county basis.  The Charter agreement creates a process where FEMA, CWSD, and partners will work together to establish a consistent flow of information about project status, timelines, and next steps. This is the first Charter Agreement that FEMA Region 9 has entered into and has become a blueprint for other regional cooperation program in other parts of the country.

2013 – CWSD developed Comprehensive Regional Water System Plan that evaluated the future water demands for all the major water purveyors in the watershed.  The report identified possible future regional pipelines and interties to enhance the regional water supply.

You can also learn more about CWSD’s work by visiting River Projects page.

Andy Aldax Award

The CWSD Andy Aldax Award is bestowed annually upon individuals for exemplary service in conservation and protection of the Carson River Watershed.  Learn more about the purpose & criteria of the award and its past recipients by following this link: Andy Aldax Award