Recent water rights sale transactions in Nevada includes 35 shares of Virgin River surface water. There are about 10 acre feet per share under the Virgin River Share arrangement in the Mesquite and Bunkerville irrigation system.
“In 1961 water shares in the valley were worth $14 per share and you were a damn fool to buy them” stated Cecil Leavitt, a Virgin Valley board director. He went on to say “Today they are worth more than the land”.
The final sale price for the 35 shares was $2,801,968 or about $80,056 per share. That translates to over $8000 per acre foot for surface water rights.
The surface water is not currently used by the buyer of the rights, Virgin Valley Water District as drinking water. Construction of a water treatment plant to purify the water will be required for the local rate payers to see any beneficial use from the purchase.
There are few reasons the district would go ahead with the purchase now, except the fact that if they did not buy the shares now, Southern Nevada Water Authority might. Once they are owned and headed to Las Vegas they would never be available in the Virgin River Valley again.
This story will play out across Nevada over and over in the next few years. Basins are being closed to additional allocations, additional permits are being denied. What currently exists will only increase in value. Demand continues to grow from domestic growth to agricultural needs and uses.
Funny to hear “you would have to have been a damn fool to pay $14 a share in 1961, and it just sold for over $80,000 “.
While few had the foresight then, the future of water rights in Nevada seems very clear today. What do you think they will be saying in another twenty years?
Chris W. Miller is a Nevada Irrigated farm and ranch land specialist; most of his currently listed properties have water rights. Call Chris today for more information. Ref:Mesquite Local News Oct. 22, 2009
Chris W. Miller
ERA Brokers Consolidated
Mesquite NV 89027