Water will be allowed to flow through the Truckee Canal again at noon today, according to information released by the Bureau of Reclamation at a public meeting Thursday night at Fernley High School.
"I agree with what they had to do and with their analysis," said Ernie Schank, board president of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District. "We will continue to work with them to make sure we comply."
Schank said the district already has a number of documents the bureau is requiring to maximize flows in the canal and will work quickly to complete the reports in a timely manner.
"Irrigation season begins April 1," Schank said. "We're going to have to be up to the higher levels to deliver water to people in Fernley."
Since TCID has been involved with BOR in the investigation process, the agency was aware long-term structural fixes would be named as a conditional factor in operating the canal to its full capacity. The long-term fixes include lining the Fernley Reach of the Truckee Canal with cobble and constructing the embankments with certain material - a timely and costly undertaking that will take years ... and millions of dollars.
"Frankly, I think the local government, the cities of Fernley, Fallon, Lyon County, Churchill County and the bureau are going to have to go hand in hand with TCID," Schank said. "When it's determined what has to happen, we will have to go to our congressional representatives. After all, it is owned by the BOR."
Fernley Mayor Todd Cutler, whose city was thrown into chaos Jan. 5 when the canal breached, was pleased to hear the flows would resume in the canal on Friday.
"It's imperative for our community, and our water supply, and for all those that the canal services, for water to begin to flow," Cutler said. "We must be assured that we will continue to strive for and look for methods and means to work toward safety, that what happened Jan. 5 will be avoided in the future.
"We need to get the water flowing. We needed water a lot sooner than now."
Bureau of Reclamation's letter to TCID
This letter outlines the conditions TCID must adhere to in order to reinstate flows on the Truckee Canal.
• The canal may be reopened no earlier than March 21 at noon. In the 11.7-mile long Fernley Reach, water must be restricted to 150 cubic feet per second (cfs). Prior to reopening the canal, additional stage measuring stations must be installed.
• Water in the Fernley Reach may be increased to 250 cfs after TCID produces a Standard Operating Procedures, a Facility Improvement Plan, an Emergency Action Plan, Monitoring Program and a Maintenance Plan.
• Water in the Fernley Reach may be increased to 350 cfs after the Special Rodent Control Program has been approved.
• Water in the Fernley Reach may be increased higher than 350 cfs only after TCID has complied with the long-term structural fix.
• Long-term structural fixes will include significant repair and/or modification of the canal. BOR included a graphic detailing the different soil materials and construction of a "zoned earthfill embankment," which includes lining the inside slopes of the canal with cobble.