Water Rights – Explained

When the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors appointed the “SGCC and SOA Water Management Advisory Committee”, one of its stated objectives was to “Prepare and recommend a plan for the use and optimization of the Water Rights that make up the Agreement between both parties such that the Water Rights as granted never terminate or revert back to their origins and are managed within the state, federal, and local laws are requirements as outlined in any and all water rights licenses or agreements”.

So what Water Rights are they referring to? The Water Rights purchased from the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC), along with the Water Facilities for accessing and delivering the water, which were then leased back to the SGCC subject to the terms and conditions of a Water Facilities Agreement. These Water Rights provide the irrigation water for both the SGCC and the SOA’s Canyon9 golf courses. The water supply comes from two sources, underground wells and the Truckee River via twenty water permits. These permits are listed on the attached spreadsheet, along with the permitted amounts in Acre Feet Annually (AFA) for each. Also, included are the dates when the permits were put into use, along with the next due dates for submittal of the routine “Proof of Beneficial Use” documentation. Note that some of the permits have not yet been activated. The attached indicates that the total allotment of available water is 511.87 ACA. However, how much of this is actually being used is unknown to the writer. Note that the vast majority of the allocated water comes underground wells, primarily Well 5 in Sierra Canyon, which has been the primary source of irrigation water for the SGCC. Whereas the Canyon9 irrigation water, which is minor compared to the SGCC, originates from the Truckee River.

SOA Water Permits

At the last SOA BOD Meeting, the BOD President, Tom Fitzgerald, remarked on “using it or losing it” when speaking about the Water Rights, and the SOA General Manager, Tracy Carter, remarked that Well 5 was no longer producing at the rate it should be for irrigation of the SGCC, which raises the following questions:

  1. If we are not using all, or the majority, of the water authorized under the permits, where can additional uses be applied, if anywhere, and what would be the cost?
  2. Is it possible that unused water rights could be sold off?
  3. If the Well 5 is no longer producing as required, where is the SGCC getting the additional water for irrigation? The alternate source is from the Truckee River, via the Canyon9 pond, but will this result in exceeding the Truckee River Permits?
  4. If a new well to replace Well 5 is required to provide sufficient irrigation water for the SGCC, a very expensive process, who will pay for it?

In addition, with regard to the Committee objective that “Water Rights as granted never terminate or revert back to their origins and are managed within the state, federal, and local laws are requirements as outlined in any and all water rights licenses or agreements”, who is ultimately responsible for this? The answer being that the SGCC is, this per Article 3.1 (d) of the Water Facilities Agreement which states: “The Operating Manager (defined as the SGCC) shall insure that the Water Rights are used so that they are kept in good standing and not subject to forfeiture or abandonment for non-use pursuant to the laws and regulations of the State of Nevada”

is indeed all well and good for the SOA to oversee that the SGCC lives up to the terms of the Water Facilities Agreement, but under the Water Facilities Agreement, the costs for managing the Water Rights and maintaining the Water Facilities lies with the SGCC.

Additional information about the Somersett Water Rights and Water Facilities may be accessed via the following links:


8 thoughts on “Water Rights – Explained

  1. After reading this posting, what I get is that any expenses that fall to the Gold course will be paid by the SOA because the golf course has no money.

    1. The SOA should NOT be covering all the SGCC expenses as this seems to be in every case. I am tired of our continual bailout of the SGCC. They need to take responsibility and accountability for their inability for manage their assets, meet expected agreements and ALL financial responsibilities.

      Somerset SOA seems to be giving them a continual blank check for anything and everything!

      1. This is because there are 2 SGC members on the BOD, along with Tom Fitzgerald, who dominate the voting on issues in favor of the SGC. I say that nothing will affect property values like one assessment after the other, because the SGC members won’t pay their own bills..

  2. I drove bye the golf course today at 2:45 PM. It looked like a wonderful place to have a Picnic. That was because there wasn’t a golfer in sight. Sadly, this is the norm. What I fail to understand is why the course isn’t set up to make money, or at least come close to breaking even. Why do the the non golf playing members of Somerset have to bear the financial burden of this lead balloon ? Who is behind these self serving decisions ? How can we change this situation ? Are the members of the SOA willing to rise up and do the work to facilitate change, or will apathetic behavior win out again ?

  3. At 2 45 pm it is too hot to play, too sunny…and maybe too windy.

    As a resident owner you have the right to play 4 times a year, after 1 pm (according to one resident owner, who wanted to play with her 80 year old father)!


  4. The adjacent Sunset Bluffs development is including “equity membership” in SGCC with purchase. I wonder if the SGCC financials are includes in the purchase agreement? The gift that keeps on giving!

  5. Let’s see ……. Option #1 is to be able to play the gold course 4 times a year after 1 PM. This isn’t free, you have to pay for it. Option #2 would be to give up the amazing opportunity to play golf 4 times in a year exchange for a total and complete separation from SGCC and their financial and H2O boondoggles. Humm, I’ll choose Option #2 each and every time. I’m sick and tired of being a cash cow for the SGCC members.

  6. Terry Retter maintains that the Somersett Golf Course is essential to our planned community.. Maybe so, but the SGC is not. A public course with another management company would be just fine, as would many other options.. If he is so certain that the SGC is essential, (with the Somersett homeowners continually picking up the bill), let’s have a community vote.

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