TCID reduces reservoir flows for maintenance

Crews finish last-minute work Wednesday afternoon on one of four culverts on U.S. 95.

Crews finish last-minute work Wednesday afternoon on one of four culverts on U.S. 95.

Water flows from Lahontan Reservoir have been reduced to the Carson River and V-line canal so the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District can inspect the water delivery system and perform preventative maintenance at several sites.

TCID General Manager Rusty Jardine said Thursday crews need to examine the new weir and spillway that was constructed off the V-line canal midway between Diversion Dam and the 26-Foot Drop, a hydro-electric energy generation facility. Jardine said TCID is constantly checking the safety of the entire system.

“With the pressure of the water shooting out over the weir, the flow broke down some embankment,” Jardine said, adding additional concrete was poured Thursday afternoon to reinforce the banks so they don’t crumble into the channel. Jardine warned people to stay away from all embankments.

As a result of the work, TCID reduced the outgoing flow from Lahontan Reservoir to 850 cubic feet per second. Jardine also said the right outlet valve at Lahontan Reservoir was turned off for inspection and maintenance.

Once the maintenance is completed, Jardine said TCID will increase the flow from the reservoir. He also said the maintenance work performed this week slowed the flow of water from the V-line canal to Sheckler Reservoir and the adjacent U.S. Bravo 16 training range to U.S. Highway 95 south of Pasture Road. Water from the V-line, he said, is following established canals and ditches and ruts previously formed by runoff.

“The water is following a course cast in a former time,” Jardine said.addede, but Jardine estimates water could reach U.S. 95 within a few days to next week depending when maintenance work ends and the effects of weather patterns.

Jardine added TCID and the county road crews dug out ditches and a canal to ensure debris did not impede the water’s flow down the western edge of the valley and then across the southern part to the highway. He said the water will use existing courses that will head toward four culverts installed this week.

Jardine said several south valley properties could be in danger as water rises, but TCID and the county’s Emergency Operations Center are constantly monitoring the water’s progression and will take appropriate steps to notify landowners.

U.S. 95 south of Fallon reopened for traffic shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday after being closed for almost a week for flood mitigation improvements. Nevada Department of Transportation awarded the contract to Ames Construction for the installation of four concrete triple-box drainage culverts.

“In less than one week, crews excavated approximately 3,000 cubic yards of earth, installed 860 feet of new box drainage culverts and repaved the roadway,” said NDOT spokesperson Meg Ragonese. “The work was completed two days ahead of schedule. The improvements will also help reinforce the highway against flooding in future years.”

The installation of the culverts covered a three-mile stretch on U.S. 95 south of Pasture Road with a separation of three miles extending from the first to the fourth culvert.

Ragonese said the total cost to install the culverts is about $1.3 million. Since this is preventative work and not restorative, she said the state may not receive reimbursement from the federal government.

Despite the addition of the culverts, the highway could close because of unexpected flooding over the roadway.

“There is also potential that future storms or rapid spring snow melt-off could cause storm water to flow over and temporarily close the highway,” Ragonese said.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Reno said a series of storms will be rolling into the Sierra Nevada range and valleys.

“We’ll be leaning on the warmer side with light snow in the higher elevations. Down in the valley will be a chance of showers,” said meteorologist Chris Johnston,

He said a smaller system will pass through the area next week, and a colder pattern, according to computer models, should arrive next weekend.

“This system is a lot colder in the mountains ... the upper Tahoe basin,” he added.

Johnston said warmer weather and moderate rainfall will increase melting, but next week’s two systems could “enhance the runoff” to the rivers.


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