Historic Bunkerville Well


The Virgin Valley Water District was created by the State Legislature in 1993. The initial assets of the Water District were formed from the Mesquite Farmstead Water Association and Bunkerville Water User’s Association. Water rights contributed from each of the two water companies comprised 60% from the Mesquite Farmstead Water Association and 40% from the Bunkerville Water User’s Association.

The first well in the valley was drilled in 1930 on the school grounds in Mesquite. The well was 300 feet deep. The well water was not drinkable because of the high amount of dissolved solids (salts) so the water was used in the restrooms of the school.

Part of the Bunkerville municipal well field.

The first “water system” in the Valley was constructed in 1933 which connected the Bunkerville High School and ten homes that utilized piped irrigation water. Soon after this, 25,000 and 10,000 gallon concrete tanks were constructed. The 10,000 gallon tank was built near the canal, the 25,000 gallon tank built on “Tank Hill”. Water was pumped from the 10,000 gallon tank up to the 25,000 gallon tank. The water from the 25,000 gallon tank then flowed into the system that served the ten homes and high school.

In the mid 1930’s, a plan was developed, funding was provided by the Soil Conservation Service, and labor from local residents and the Civilian Conservation Corps to develop several springs and pipe water part way down the mountain to a small dam. Residents from the valley could then drive wagons or trucks to the dam and fill water barrels with much better water than the canal water. A small water tank was built next to the dam for residents to receive their water (mainly because the small dam site had become a convenient swimming hole). Once enough funds were collected, a new tank, further down the mountain was constructed. It became known as “Three Mile Tank”. It was unique in that it had a wall inside the tank that separated the water into a 60%/40% split. The 60% side was for Mesquite residents. The 40% side was for Bunkerville residents.

In 1938, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints funded a project to complete waterlines from “Three Mile Tank” to Bunkerville and Mesquite (separate lines). Now local residents could go to the local standpipe and obtain water in town instead of having to drive up the mountain.

In the mid to late 1940’s, funding was secured to provide a rudimentary water distribution system. For Bunkerville, the Bunkerville Water User’s Association was responsible for the distribution system. For Mesquite, it was the Mesquite Farmstead Water Association that was responsible for the distribution system. Because of World War II, steel/cast iron materials were not available for use for pipe. Asbestos cement pipe was used throughout the systems to deliver water.

The infrastructure and the associated water rights from the two water companies are what comprised the beginnings of the Virgin Valley Water District.