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Water orders accepted until Sept. 10, planned shut down Sept. 15 to Oct. 1

Staff report, Lahontan Valley News

TCID expects Lahontan Reservoir to drop to 36,000 acre feet by the end of August.

The allocation to water users for this year has been increased from 75 percent to 80 percent, states a press release from the Tahoe-Carson Irrigation District's Board of Directors.
Orders taken through the close of business on Sept. 10 will be delivered until Sept. 15, at which time the releases from Lahontan will be discontinued for two weeks until Oct. 1. Water will then be released again from Lahontan until the end of the season.

TCID expects Lahontan Reservoir to drop to about 36,000 acre-feet by the end of August and to about 29,000 acre feet by the end of September, reaching 4,000 acre-feet in November. Releases from Lahontan Reservoir will be reduced to a level that prevents the storage from dropping below 4,000 acre-feet.

The maximum Truckee Canal diversion allowed is 350 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is more than is available of the Floriston Rates water that arrives at Derby Dam. For August, the Floriston Rates is 500 cfs, plus 100 cfs of fish water released from Stampede Reservoir. This fish water must pass below Derby Dam and is not available for use by TCID water users.

In addition to the fish water, TCID reports 34 cfs is required to be released below Derby Dam for Claim 1 agricultural water for the Pyramid Lake Tribe, 15 cfs is required to a transfer of water from Truckee Meadows to below Derby Dam and 81 cfs is required to be released for the unused portions of Claims 1 and 2, for a total of 230 cfs below Derby Dam.

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Lahontan Reservoir nears record low; boaters warned to be careful

By Steve Timko, Reno Gazzette-Journal
August 15, 2008

The water level may reach near an historic low by the end of the summer because of a lack of rain and the Jan. 5 collapse of the Truckee River Irrigation Canal in Fernley, David Morrow, administrator for state parks, said.  While boating at Lahontan Reservoir is discouraged, the boat launch at Sand Harbor on Lake Tahoe could be closed by the end of August.
"What we guess is here in another few weeks, two or three weeks, the conditions will be difficult to impossible to get your boat in at the Sand Harbor boat ramp," Morrow said.  At Lahontan Reservoir, fed by the Truckee and Carson rivers, water levels dropped because of a double hit, Morrow said.
"I think there's no question that without being able to put the water they normally get from the (Truckee) canal, that made the situation worse," Morrow said. "But it's also very dry in the Carson River."
Lahontan can hold about 320,000 acre-feet. The Nevada Department of Wildlife reports the reservoir could drop this year to 13,000 to 14,000 acre-feet, still enough to protect the fish population there, spokesman Chris Healy said. Morrow said lower water levels mean more hazards for boaters. "I think the conditions are getting very, very poor and I think it would be difficult to put anything in the reservoir that was of any size," he said. Bad for business
The situation is hurting business. Missy Swain, owner of Burke's Market about 200 yards from the entrance to the reservoir, said her volume is down 80 percent. For the first time since she bought the store in 1996, she will close for the winter.

For entire article, please visit website.

Real-Time Information: USGS stream flow and well water gages through Truckee River system

From the KRNV website: describing our watershed. Click on website for gaging sites & real-time data.
Truckee Meadows is a bowl-shaped valley, approximately 10 miles wide and 16 miles long, containing the cities of Reno and Sparks with a combined urban population of approximately 280,000 persons. The Truckee Meadows also includes Pleasant Valley and Washoe Valley to the south, the latter valley containing Washoe Lake and Little Washoe Lake. Both these valleys are drained by Steamboat Creek, which then runs along the eastern portion of the Truckee Meadows and empties into the Truckee River near Vista and the beginning of the lower Truckee River canyon. Along the way, Steamboat Creek picks up the return flows of numerous irrigation ditches to the south of the Truckee River, the most important being Steamboat Ditch, Last Chance Ditch, and Lake Ditch, as well as the Boynton Slough. The Boynton Slough is the recipient of some of these other ditches' return-flow waters as well. Steamboat Creek also receives the treated effluent from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (formerly the Reno-Sparks joint sewage treatment plant).
The eastern part of the Truckee Meadows was a vast marshy wetland prior to development of the area, and remnants of low-lying areas are still farmed today. Loss of this wetland area has exacerbated flooding in the Sparks industrial area.The Truckee Meadows urban area is the largest user of municipal and industrial water from the Truckee River. While municipal and industrial water use (withdrawals) in the Truckee Meadows total approximately 65,000 acre-feet per year, nearly three times this amount (172,383 acre-feet per year, 1973-1994) is diverted out of the lower Truckee River Basin at Derby Dam and into the Truckee Canal for agricultural use in the Newlands Project in the lower Carson River Basin.

Slowing of Bottled Water Market Marks Anniversary of Pepsi Announcement, A year later, competitor Coke still refuses to reveal..

Slowing of Bottled Water Market Marks Anniversary of Pepsi Announcement, A year later, competitor Coke still refuses to reveal Dasani's source as tap.
Published on Aug 1, 2008 - 7:21:13 AM
By: Corporate Accountability International
BOSTON, July 31, 2008 - One year ago, Corporate Accountability International and its allies pressured industry leader Pepsi to spell out the source of its water on its Aquafina brand labels -- the tap.Since that time, leading market competitors Coke and Nestle have refused to make a similar commitment despite growing concern about what people are getting in the bottle. Such concerns, when coupled with the struggling economy, are contributing to signs of a downturn in the growth of the bottled water market at large.In May, Nestle reported that its bottled water profits had dropped, acknowledging a ˜criticism of bottled water' as a factor in decreased sales. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, last year the U.S. bottled water industry experienced its slowest annual revenue growth in more than 15 years."In these difficult times, people are tired of being sold of bill of goods in a bottle," said Gigi Kellett, national director of Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "We believe these corporations shouldn't be putting a dollar value on this essential resource. So long as they are, the least they could do is let people know they are charging a thousand percent mark-up for water that comes directly from the tap."Up to 40 percent of bottled water comes from public water supplies. To profit from this packaging of a public good, bottlers pump water from municipal systems to resell to consumers at hundreds, even thousands of times of the price of what households pay per gallon for the essentially same water from the tap.This week, more than 1400 people have contacted Coke to ask that their Dasani brand follow Pepsi's lead. Corporate Accountability International is leading the call-in effort as part of its ongoing Think Outside the Bottle campaign, which has catalyzed dozens of cities, universities, religious organizations, restaurants and small businesses around a shared commitment to opt for tap over bottled water.The corporation and its trade association have worked to block stronger labeling and consumer-right-to-know laws in California and across the country.Coke also blocked a vote on a shareholders' resolution this year that would have similarly required the corporation to report on the health and quality of its bottled water brands in a manner comparable to the reporting of public water utilities."Coke is working very had to avoid addressing reasonable questions about product quality testing and disclosure, even while touting its supposedly rigorous safety and quality requirements," said Kellett. "People are wondering what exactly this corporation has to hide. It's in Coke's best interest to come clean about the misleading marketing the corporation employs to promote the Dasani brand."Nestle is also contributing to growing concerns about the lack of transparency in the bottled water industry. The corporation was recently forced to recall a batch of its Pure Life brand due to contamination from a cleaning compound. Pure Life is a processed tap water brand.Coke has yet to react to consumer requests for more information. Most callers are told, in essence, that 'Coke believes people have what they need to make informed choices about their purchase of bottled water.'Too bad what information people have is not by way of the corporation itself.Website: www.StopCorporateAbuse.org

Truckee River draft storage and public review

Submitted article, Lahontan Valley News

The Bureau of Reclamation announces the availability of a Draft Storage Contract with the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) for a 60-day public review and comment period.  BOR and TMWA recently completed negotiations for the storage of TMWA's municipal and industrial water in the BOR's federal reservoirs located in the upper Truckee River Basin. A water storage contact between TMWA and BOR is required before the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA) can be approved.

TROA would implement Section 205(a) of the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990, Title II of Public Law 101-618 (Settlement Act). It would modify existing operations of designated reservoirs to enhance coordination and flexibility while ensuring that existing water rights are served and flood control and safety of dams requirements are met.

TROA would, in part, (1) enhance conditions for the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and endangered cui-ui in the Truckee River basin; (2) increase municipal and industrial drought protection for the Truckee Meadows (Reno-Sparks metropolitan area); (3) improve Truckee River water quality downstream from Sparks, Nevada; and (4) enhance streamflows and recreational opportunities in the Truckee River Basin.

At the time TROA takes effect, the Settlement Act provides that a permanent allocation between California and Nevada of water in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee River and Carson River basins will also take effect.

The draft storage contract is available on BOR's TROA website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/troa. If you encounter problems accessing the document online, please contact Lynnette Wirth at (916) 978-5102 or lwirth@mp.usbr.gov.

Written comments on the draft contract must be received by close of business on Aug. 29, 2008, and should be mailed to Kenneth Parr, Bureau of Reclamation, 705 North Plaza Street, Room 320, Carson City, NV 89701-4015, or faxed to (775) 882-7592, or e-mailed to kparr@mp.usbr.gov. All comments become part of the public record.

For questions or to request a copy of the draft contract, please contact Mr. Parr at 775-882-3436. Additional information on TROA is available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/troa/.

Planning initiative gathers more than 28,000 signatures

By Susan Voyles • svoyles@rgj.com • June 28, 2008
Reno Gazette-Journal

More than 28,000 signatures were turned in Friday to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters for a citizens initiative to force regional planning to be based on replenishable water resources found within the county.

The 28,388 signatures are about 10,000 more than the 18,083 signatures required for the question to be put on the November ballot. If a sample shows they have more than the required number of verified voter signatures, officials said it would be the first binding question about limiting growth to appear on a Washoe ballot.

"We have no illusions that this fight is just beginning," said Bob Fulkerson, a petition leader at a short rally before turning in four boxes of signatures. "The monied interests and developers have us in their sights." Fulkerson also thanked County Commission Chairman Robert Larkin for challenging sustainable-growth advocates to do their own petition.

"On March 11, we filled the room and asked the Washoe County Commissioners to please put a sustainable water planning advisory question on the ballot," Fulkerson said. "Instead the chairman of the commission told us to go home and watch Oprah," he said.

"Did we go home and watch Oprah?" he asked a dozen supporters who responded with an emphatic "no." Rather than work for an advisory question, the petition backers decided to make their question binding. Larkin could not be reached for comment.

For entire story, please visit website.

Farmers, TCID and BOR unify to repair the V-line Canal

By Rachel Dahl • Fallon Star Press • June 20, 2008
Source: www.rgj.com

With the characteristic community spirit that built the Newlands Project in 1903, Fallon farmers pitched in all week to help patch a gaping hole in the V-line canal left when the Lewis Spill failed last Wednesday, June 11, affecting nearly 2,500 farmers and 30,000 acres of crops.

These farmers are running low on sleep and high on grit while plowing through hundreds of gallons of fuel each day determined to finish the repairs in the V-line Canal as quickly as possible to get water flowing through the valley and save what they can of their crops.

Fallon dairyman Pete Olsen, who sent some of his heavy equipment to the Lewis Spill repair site, isone of the farmers helping. He and his two brothers farm several hundreds of acres south of Fallon which have been impacted by the wash-out that forced the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District to shut down water deliveries through the V-line, the L-line and most of the A-line canals.

"We have over 120 acres of corn that needed water days ago," he said. In addition to their farm, Olsen said several of his neighbors have crops that are desperate for water and may not survive much longer without receiving the precious irrigation water.

For entire article, please visit website.

Long-term canal repairs to cost millions

By Jeff DeLong, www.rgj.com • June 10, 2008

Trappers are removing rodents that helped cause last winter's breach of an irrigation canal east of Reno, but a long-term solution to the problem will take years and cost millions, a federal official told a panel of Nevada lawmakers Monday.

Kenneth Parr, a deputy area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, briefed a legislative committee on the status of the Truckee Canal, which broke Jan. 4 and flooded nearly 600 Fernley homes.

Experts concluded that muskrats and beavers burrowing into the canal's earthern embankment weakened it and caused its collapse, Parr told the Legislative Committee to Oversee the Western Regional Water Commission.

To help prevent a recurrence, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District recently started a program to trap rodents along an 11-mile stretch of the canal where it flows through Fernley, Parr said.

"It's to prevent the problem of the animals going in there and creating that burrowing ... issue in the canal," Parr said.

The trapping effort, Parr said, represents only a short-term solution to protecting the Fernley area from dangers posed by burrowing rodents.

A longer-term solution will be the construction of a concrete rodent barrier on the canal's north embankment along the 11-mile section, Parr said. Experts have begun analyzing the project, and while no precise estimate is available, it likely will cost in the millions of dollars, he said.

"We believe the canal, especially in the Fernley area, will require substantial structural improvements," Parr said. "It will be many years to get this done, and it will be extremely expensive."

The 32-mile-long canal, owned by the Bureau of Reclamation but operated and maintained by the irrigation district, carries water from the Truckee River to Fernley and Fallon.

Repairs to the breached portion were completed in mid-February and the flow of water steadily ramped up since late March to the current level of 350 cubic feet per second.

For entire article, please visit website.

Climate Change: Forests, wildlife, fire danger all expected to be affected by warming Sierra

By Greyson Howard, Sierra Sun

Many doomsday predictions of climate change focus on rising oceans, flooding coastlines and submerged cities, but some scientists are watching the Sierra to gauge other significant impacts.

Looking into the future it isn’t hard for researchers to picture the many different Sierra ecosystems — wrapped like bands around different elevations — retreating rapidly upward, squeezing each other and eventually running out of elevation to climb.

As future temperatures rise, predictions are for snow to melt faster and streams to swell earlier, out of sync with the breading cycles of aquatic species like fish and frogs. Dry summers would leave entire forests more susceptible to fire and pests than ever before.

And, many experts agree, the changes become amplified as they move up the food chain, throwing the Sierra Nevada’s entire ecosystem, meticulously established over millennia, out of balance in a matter of decades. The bottom line, some scientists conclude, is the extinction of vulnerable mountain species and increased fire risk for the Sierra’s human inhabitants.

“Our concern is with the rapidity of change — most species can evolve over time and the planet has always been in flux — but it’s the rate of change, which is really unlike anything we’ve been able to study,” said Josh Viers, assistant research ecologist at UC Davis.

The Sierra Nevada has been characterized as the “canary in the coal mine,” according to the U.S. Forest Service, an early alarm for the deleterious effects of rising temperatures. But all parts of the Sierra won’t be treated equal. Despite Truckee-Tahoe’s more northern latitude, the area will likely be hit harder than the taller mountains to the south.

“The area around Tahoe and Donner Summit, for example, would be more affected then Kings Canyon,” Viers said.
And so Tahoe National Forest has been picked as an open-air laboratory for climate change — a focal point in a global issue — with researchers from academic bodies, conservation groups and the U.S. Forest Service gleaning whatever they can learn from the surrounding woods.

“When I started I was a naysayer, ready to poke holes in global warming,” said Carol Kennedy, the watershed project manager for Tahoe National Forest. “I don’t poke holes anymore.”

Retreating trees
Perhaps easiest to predict and already in progress in some cases is the steady retreat of vegetation away from rising low-elevation temperatures and towards ever-shrinking snow melt, said UC Davis’ Viers.
The water problem
While rising temperatures will directly affect many species, indirect affects through changing water availability may be even more drastic.

“Between 7,000 and 9,000 feet the rain/snow mix line will be most severely affected,” Josh Viers said.
This means the timing and flow of streams and river could change, possibly three to seven weeks earlier, he said.

“Everything from what’s in the streams — frogs breeding to vegetation along the side of the streams — a whole series of affects, will come from just the timing,” Viers said. The breeding cycles of both the mountain red- and yellow-legged frogs of the Sierra may no longer match with stream flows he said.

Trout require cold water, no more than 20 to 21 degrees Celsius, meaning many streams could become too warm, Viers said. Flowering plants may bloom with high flows before pollinators like bees and mosquitoes emerge.

Aspen trees, already diminishing in the West, are at risk because of drying stream habitat, Nechadom said.

And moisture could be dropping on the order of 40 to 60 percent by the year 2100, Kennedy said.

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Experts say stream runoff has peaked

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • May 24, 2008

Runoff in area streams and rivers has peaked, and Lake Tahoe probably won't rise more than another inch or so before it starts dropping in the summer heat, experts said Friday.

That spate of high heat that broke many records a week ago quickly melted the snowpack, causing streams to rise and the Truckee River to turn a muddy brown. Highs in Reno exceeded 90 degrees four consecutive days, ending Monday.

"It pretty much came off in one big flush," said Dan Greenlee, a hydrologist with the National Resource Conservation Service in Reno. "I think we've peaked. Once it warms back up again if it doesn't come back up, we'll know for sure."

Chad Blanchard, chief deputy of the Federal Water Master's Office in Reno, agreed that this year's runoff has hit its peak and will be on a diminishing trend. Natural runoff of the Truckee River peaked May 17 while the Carson River peaked the next day, Blanchard said.

On Friday, Lake Tahoe's level was measured at 6,225.39 feet. While thunderstorms forecast through the weekend could change things if they produce sufficient rain, Blanchard said he doesn't expect Tahoe's level to rise more than an inch or two beyond current levels.

For entire story, please visit website.

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