Eye on drought: FHTC begins fifth year as water group

Back in the late winter of 2010-2011, it was feared by many of the farmers in the Fernley area there would be no water in the Truckee Canal for the upcoming irrigation season.

The Truckee Canal was dry and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was pushing to get the 100-year old water take-outs in the banks of the canal replaced before water would again flow in the Truckee Canal. Due to the importance of the water to the farmers and the community of Fernley as a whole, this could not be an option.

So at that time, many of the farmers who were concerned about this situation came together to form “Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal” (FHTC), to become an organized voice for all of the “water users” in the Newland’s Project and to educate residents of the importance of the Truckee Canal as an essential part of the Newland’s Project. The term “water users” describes everyone who resides in the Newland’s communities of Fernley, Hazen and Fallon using water for any purpose.

Also at that time, FHTC and the Truckee Carson Irrigation District came together to get water back in the canal to complete the irrigation season. It was through the support of then-Congressman, Dean Heller, that it was agreed a limited flow would be allowed to complete the season. Early in 2012, work began on the canal and was completed by the spring 2012.

When we all look back to 2008 and the breach of the Truckee Canal, and the subsequent flood, we can all agree this must never happen again. Due to the importance of the Truckee Canal to the re-charge of the Fernley/Hazen aquifer and for the water it provides for the agriculture and water supply of the greater Fallon area, we must all remain vigilant to the operation, maintenance and future repairs to the Truckee Canal.

There may be differences of opinion to the long-range repairs, but the bottom line is we all need to find common ground on solutions that will work for all of the Newland’s communities. We will all continue to prosper as long as the Truckee Canal flows.

“As Mayor I endorse the vital work being done by the Friends of the (Historic) Truckee Canal,” Fernley Mayor Roy Edgington said. “Their goal to educate the public about the importance of the Newlands Project, to not only the city of Fernley but the Northern Nevada region. This is an exemplary model of what a group of dedicated citizens can accomplish.”

FHTC needs all of you to help grow our voice and help us continue to provide education to the communities that rely on the Truckee Canal for its water supply. It will be through our efforts together that we can assure a safe and well-maintained Truckee Canal.

We ask you to join our next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Round Table Pizza in Fernley. Our bi-annual elections will be held that evening and we still need to fill some seats on our board. So if you would like to get involved in an important organization that takes very little personal time, please consider throwing your hat in the ring.

For information, call 775-229-6017 or visit our website at www.friendsofthetruckeecanal.org.

Rod Windle is a Fernley resident and public information coordinator of the Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal.


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