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Reid says he will sign river deal on Sept. 6

Reid says he will sign river deal on Sept. 6 By Susan Voyles • svoyles@rgj.com • August 23, 2008

Saying it's the biggest thing he has ever done for Nevada, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he definitely will be on hand to sign the historic Truckee River Operating Agreement in Wingfield Park on Sept. In addition to settling 100 years of water wars between Nevada and California, the agreement provides storage for drought-year water supplies in Sierra reservoirs for years to come for the Reno and Sparks area.

That storage, officials said, will help meet demand in drought years when Truckee Meadows Water Authority is providing up to 119,000 acre-feet of water a year to customers. TMWA provides 85,000 acre-feet a year for 93,000 customers. In years when there's more than enough water, that water is managed for the fish. The plan already is in place and working under an interim agreement approved several years ago. Getting everyone to sign the deal has taken nearly 20 years. "I started working on this the night I was elected to the Senate," said Reid, D-Nev., of the plan and his 1986 election.
"It has been a real struggle," he said. In 1990, Reid got Congress to pass a settlement act that directed the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to negotiate an agreement for the river and its upstream reservoirs. He uses lists to talk about the obstacles in getting the agreement completed. "It involved two Indian tribes. Two endangered species. The cities of Reno and Sparks. Pyramid Lake. The Truckee and Carson Rivers. And Lake Tahoe.
The act also provides $65 million to the Pyramid Lake-Paiute tribe for economic development and to rebuild its fisheries, as well as $40 million for Fallon. The agreement required the homes served by TMWA to have meters, with the total conversion now set for January 2010.

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