Steve Puterski

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May 9, 2013
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Drought diminshes area's water

Drought conditions have sapped the water supply in Northern Nevada.

At Tuesday’s monthly Truckee-Carson Irrigation District Board of Director’s meeting, the district held firm on its stance of conserving water in Lahontan Reservoir.

The board voted to end water orders in the Carson Division should storage in Lahontan dip to 4,000 acre-feet. The current water allotment of 75 percent for the division will remain, while users in the Truckee Division will receive 100 percent of its allotment.

Deputy Project Manager Walt Winder said it is critical for the district to have some carryover water for the 2014 water season.

As of Tuesday, storage at Lahontan was about 119,000 acre-feet, but most of the snowpack in the Sierra has melted, leaving dry conditions. The mountain range did receive about 5 inches of snow from a storm earlier this week, but the amount will not affect allotment percentages.

One reason for the 4,000 acre-feet cap involves the fish in the reservoir. The lake dipped below 4,000 several years ago, which caused the district to pump in oxygen to keep fish alive, according to President Ernie Schank.

He also said the cap will also allow the district to avoid any costs associated with pumping in oxygen.

In other TCID news —

Treasurer Lester de Braga reported the district has about $1.1 million in outstanding bills.

The board discussed several options to prevent outstanding funds including suspending and refusing to take water orders from those who are late in payment.

Project Manager Rusty Jardine said the district has the power, under state law, to stop water deliveries to delinquent customers.

Jardine said the district met with Kate Marshall, Nevada state treasurer, on Monday to discuss options to reduce the district’s indebtness on the $5 million bond passed two years ago.

Jardine said the refinancing cuts the interest by 3 percent, which will lower the payments.

Mark Solinisk, TCID hydro foreman, reported the district is releasing 520 cubic-feet per second of water from Lahontan Dam. In addition, he said the new hydroelectric plant is producing 1,350 kilowatts of power, the old plant is generating 1,325 kW and 26-foot drop is at 515 kW.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a land sale in the summer, according to Supervisory Realty Specialist Richard Grimes. He said four parcels are up for sale including plots of 320 acres ($180,000), 29 ($60,000 ), 80 ($52,000) and 40 ($85,000).

For information about the land sale and property packet, contact the USFWS at 775-423-5128 or visit the Fallon office at 1020 New River Parkway, Ste. 305.

Public bids will be accepted for the properties until noon on May 31.

De Braga was honored with a pin and certificate for 15 years of service on the board. He has the second-longest tenure on the board behind Schank.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated May 9, 2013 07:54PM Published May 9, 2013 07:54PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.