Drought conditions are forcing the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District to pull back on water allotments once again.
The district met Wednesday for its annual monthly meeting is expected to drop the water allotment to 45 percent in the Carson and Truckee divisions with an expected cut-off date of July 15 at a special meeting on Tuesday. The board could not vote on the item as it was not placed on the May agenda.
A special meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at TCID’s office on 2666 Harrigan Rd. to formally vote on the matter.
The board opened the season in March with a 40 percent allocation before increasing the amount to 50 percent in April. In addition, the board figured the end of the season would be in early- to mid-August.
But continued dry conditions with small aounts of runoff from the snowpack in the Sierra Mountains forced the district’s hand.
Deputy Project Manager Walt Winder said the district must pull back its allotment to stay within its ability to fill late-season water orders from Stillwater Farms and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and keep a minimum pool to protect fish at Lahontan Reservoir.
Schank said it was important to keep the Carson and Truckee divisions at the same allotment. He said each division will share responsibility in securing water for the wildlife entities.
Vice President David Stix Jr. said the reduced allotment will also apply to water users with pump permits.
Winder, meanwhile, said the district attempted to stretch the season by reducing flows from the reservoir, but the logistics of scheduling and delivering were too daunting. As a result, Schank said the most effective means of delivery were to reduce the allocation to 45 percent.
Water users who have already used their 45 allotment, despite the district increasing the usage last month, will not be allowed to order water.
“We need to keep the percentages the same,” Schank said.
The directors spent several minutes discussing several issues throughout the Newlands Project of users taking more than their share, not using water properly and refusing to irrigate at night.
Schank said one water user refuses to take water at night, which leaves the district in a delicate position. He said the district must hold firm on its delivery policies unless an extreme circumstance calls for an adjustment to the schedule.
This user, Schank said, has no specific circumstance and must start taking deliveries at the appropriate time.
“With people not taking water, they must go to the end of the schedule,” Schank said. “There are people who routinely do it. We are trying to elongate the season.”
Another issue came about on the corner of Venturacci Lane and Coleman Road, when someone opened a lateral gate and flooded a parcel of land and a nearby street.
Treasurer Lester de Braga said he has witnessed several members of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe irrigating land with no crops or that has not been in production for several years.
Winder and Schank urged users who witness such behavior to report it to the district. Schank, along with Project Manager Rusty Jardine, said these examples are not only of people breaking the rules, but wasting water in a year in which the district cannot afford to throw away a drop.
“It’s a problem,” Winder said. “We are all getting older. I don’t like irrigating at night, but I do it.
In other TCID news —
On Monday, the board held a special meeting to swear in directors Schank, de Braga, Eric Olsen and Wade Workman.
Each ran unopposed for re-election in April and thus no election was needed.
The board, which reorganizes every two years, remained the same. Schank was elected president, Stix vice president, Bob Oakden is the secretary and de Braga remains treasurer.
Kenneth Parr, area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lahontan Basin Area Office, gave his final report before he retires on May 30.
Parr said the BOR is expected to hire a new area manager in the next three months.
Parr thanked the board for their efforts in the past several years. Schank applauded Parr for creating a better line of communication and building a stronger relationship between the two entities.