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Virginia City Water

The historic Comstock towns of Virginia City, Gold Hill, and Silver City, Nevada are located on the eastern side of the Virginia Range of mountains and are entirely surrounded by desert. To obtain domestic water for the towns, Hobart Reservoir was constructed on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains some thirty miles from Virginia City. An aqueduct system of wooden flumes, pipe lines, and an inverted siphon were built from Hobart Reservoir to 5-Mile Reservoir above Virginia City.

Between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Virginia Range lies Washoe Valley which is 1,800 feet below the divide that the aqueduct goes over to reach the 5-Mile Reservoir. To get the water through Washoe Valley from Hobart Reservoir to 5-Mile Reservoir an inverted siphon was built in the 1870's. This project was an unprecedented engineering accomplishment. This aqueduct is in use today to supply water to Virginia City, Gold Hill, and Silver City.

In 1997 a water treatment plant was built to purify the water that has been delivered to the 5-Mile Reservoir. Sierra Control Systems, Inc. provided the radio telemetry system to monitor the reservoir and the storage tanks above the towns. Sierra Control Systems, Inc. also provided the SCADA system to control the new treatment plant operation, to keep the storage tanks full of clean treated water.

It is interesting to note that a 120 year old aqueduct is supplying water to a modern treatment facility to deliver clean water to three historic towns. Some of the "old timers" confess that all of this was not necessary. "Heck, they have been drinking the water for years and no one ain't died yet."


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