Virginia City Without Water

This is one of those weeks that I’m glad I don’t live in Virginia City. It seems that the whole town is without water right now – well, they have a small amount stored in tanks, but their supply has been cut off. Because Virginia City is high up in the mountains in the middle of the desert, they don’t have any wells or lakes or any other source of fresh water. The only way they get water into the town is through a pipeline that runs from a small lake above Tahoe, down the hill into Carson City, and then back up to VC. This pipeline is over 130 years old (even though parts of it were replaced just fifty years ago!), and they rely on it for all their fresh water. Well, yesterday they discovered there was a break in the pipe. And the break isn’t just anywhere, it’s located right underneath Hwy 395, at the top of Lakeview Hill. So they can’t just do a quick dig and fix the pipe, they have the close down one or more lanes of the highway, tear up the asphalt (which they just laid as part of the freeway project) and find exactly where the break is. Then they can fix it, rebury it, and repave the road. It could be done by tonight, if the break is near the shoulder, or it could take a few days if it’s right in the middle of the highway.

So Virginia City is under a strict water conservation lockdown right now. If their supply tanks get low enough, they might have to bring water in in trucks. And they’re going to have a lot of trouble up there if there’s a fire. Just another reason to be happy I live in the valley.


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