Water Rights Dedication Requirements

As an invaluable resource, water is essential to the existence of life and paramount to the future growth of Churchill County. It must be preserved and the impact on its diminishing availability minimized.

In 1903, the United States Congress authorized the Newlands Project. Subsequent federal decrees on the Carson and Truckee Rivers secured water rights that have allowed and enhanced this community’s growth. The intent of the dedication requirements is to protect this natural resource for future generations.

Water right dedication for a land division of new parcels:
Title Water Resources: Creating new parcels that connect to the County water system requires the dedication of water rights capable of serving these new parcels. For parcels not connecting to the County water system, two acre-feet of surface-water rights must be dedicated for each parcel created. If there are no surface-water rights appurtenant to the land, a payment-in-lieu will be required as shown below.

Water right dedication for building permits: 
Title 14.04.020.B.1.a. Before issuance of a building permit or placement permit for a new, primary, permanent structure that will be served by a private domestic or commercial well, the applicant shall dedicate the required amount of surface-water rights or shall provide proof that the required amount of water rights for the subject property was previously dedicated. Single-Family residences require 2 acre-feet each. Multi-family residences require a different amount according to how many units are in the project. Commercial and industrial developments require at least two acre-feet, but those that use more than two acre-feet will need to dedicate additional water rights.

Dam at Lake Lahontan

Developments requiring hookups into the County Water System: Title 13.02.010.C: The development owner or property owner shall be required to dedicate to Churchill County, as a condition precedent to the permit or approval, any water rights reasonably necessary to ensure an adequate water supply for the intended or permitted use. The amount of water rights necessary shall be determined by the Churchill County engineering, capital projects department and the state engineer. These water rights can be for surface or ground water. If there are no water rights, a payment-in-lieu is required.

Dedication or Payment-in-lieu of water rights:
To dedicate water rights, submit a water rights quitclaim deed (PDF) to the Churchill County Planning Department with a map (prepared by a licensed water right surveyor) showing where structures will be and where the water rights will be removed. Contact the Planning Department staff for assistance in preparing the deed.

If there are no water rights appurtenant to the land, the applicant may pay an amount of cash equal to one and one-half times the fair market value of water rights in lieu of the dedication requirements. Fair market value is established by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners. The current value established is $1,092 per acre-foot multiplied by 2.0 acre-feet multiplied by 1.5 equals $3,276.00 per dwelling or its equivalent.