Water rights holders came together Tuesday at the Churchill County Commissioners Chambers for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District’s annual water users meeting.
On Thursday, the TCID Board of Directors met in Fernley with water users in the Truckee Division.
On Tuesday, however, board President Ernie Schank opened the meeting with a detailed presentation about the district’s construction efforts to remove 33 conduits and install 17 new takeouts in an 11-mile stretch of the Truckee Canal.
Schank said the efforts were nearly derailed after TCID was unable to secure financing in after a $5 million bond issue was passed in August 2011. In January 2012, though, the district was granted a loan by First Independent Bank in Fallon.
Of the $5 million, construction costs totaled $3 million, although TCID Project Manager Rusty Jardine said the district has yet to decide how use the remaining funds.
“We have no vision for the remaining $2 million,” he said. “We want to work on our debt turnaround before we start our next project.”
Jardine said the district’s annual budget hovers between $6 million to $7 million. A significant portion of the budget comes from hydroelectric power generated at Lahontan Dam.
The dam’s output, however, has been hindered the past year due to dry conditions and a low snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. The low storage does not build up water pressure, which generates more power through the two hydroelectric plants at the dam.
Mark Solinski, TCID hydro foreman, said the power created by the district is sold to NV Energy, Sierra Pacific among others.
This year’s projections, though, have been hurt by the driest January and February on record, according to Deputy Project Manager Walt Winder.
As of Tuesday, storage at Lahontan Reservoir was at 120,000 acre-feet. Winder said this year’s forecast is “a little ahead” of last year, and late-season storms may allow for the district to increase the 75 percent water allocation for the Carson Division.
Water orders, meanwhile, open for Carson Division users on April 1. Truckee Division users started orders on March 15.
“The forecast is actually tracking a little ahead of last year,” Winder said. “If the ability to change the allocation comes, I will recommend it (to the board). It could go up or possibly down.”
Winder said because of the dry conditions and low storage, the 75 percent allocation was necessary. In addition, Winder said the district must maintain a pool of 4,000 acre-feet in Lahontan Reservoir during the offseason.
During the public comment period, Stu Richardson, a Fallon farmer, asked why the district could not apply for disaster relief to secure funds to assist with the district’s debt and lack of water being moved throughout the system.
Schank said a congressional bill was passed, but no funding was earmarked for the bill.
In other TCID news —
Another topic of conversation at the meeting was with Subdivision Coordinators. Winder and Jardine addressed common issues associated with the coordinators such as water deliveries and cleaning ditches.
The coordinators shared numerous laughs and sighs as each subject was broached, especially when with individuals upstream from others do not clean their ditch.
“It comes down to being a good neighbor,” Winder said.
In the foreign language portion of the meeting, information technology specialist Mike Adams updated users on the district’s new website (www.tcid.org).
He said the new site allows for users to place and track orders in real time, fill out numerous forms associated with their rights and view updated water reports.
In addition, the district received a $103,506 grant to upgrade its shortwave radio system along the V-line canal.
Ida Adams, meanwhile, spoke about the 2014 elections.
Wade Workman (District 2), Eric Olsen (District 5), Ernie Schank (District 6) and Lester de Braga (District 7) are up for election. Schank said last year he would not run for re-election.
Workman is running for his first term after being appointed to fill the seat of the late Richard Harriman, who died last year.
Adams said interested candidates must live in their respective districts and election forms can be obtained at the TCID’s office at 2666 Harrigan Road.