TCID predicts good water year

Both the Carson and Truckee divisions are near or at 100%

Not all is bad news in the Lahontan Valley because of the COVID pandemic.

The Truckee Carson Irrigation District reports another good water year for the area’s ranchers and farmers because of the improved snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and storage at Lahontan Reservoir.

“We’re an essential service,” said Rusty Jardine, TCID’s general manager. “We have people at work, people in the field, and we’ll keep delivering water.”

TCID, though has suspended public meetings until further notice.

Jardine said the Truckee Division has 100% of its water for 2020, and that will help the water users in the Fernley area. For the first time in almost a decade, Jardine said TCID is able to transfer water from the Fernley area to the reservoir via the Truckee Canal.

“We haven’t had the need to send it over before now,” Jardine said.

Before the wet years of the last three seasons, Jardine said the drought prevented any transfer of water from Fernley to the reservoir, and there was no need from 2017-2019 because of the abundance of water. Lahontan Reservoir has more than 192,000 acre-feet of water compared to 206,500 acre-feet at the same time in 2019 and 263,332 acre-feet in 2018.

The Carson Division is at 95%, but the snowpack for the Carson River Basin isn’t at the same level as the Truckee River Basin. Jardine said the winter storms several weeks ago helped the snowpack.

Jeff Anderson, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) in Nevada, said the snowstorms added 13% to the snowpack.

“To gain back that amount this time of year is really hard,” Anderson said.

At the end of the snowstorm, the Mount Rose Snotel site was at 56%

The snowpack started the weekend at 43% at the Mount Rose Snotel site and was at 56% at the end of the storm.

Before this storm, Anderson said the snowline at Lake Tahoe was inching upward rapidly

“The snowpack was melting rapidly, even at the higher levels,” Anderson said. “This storm has really pushed that back for a while.”

A series of smaller storms since mid-March also has helped the snowpack.

Snowpack percentages in the Sierra range are below normal and down anywhere from 35-45%, while the Northern Nevada ranges in Elko and Humboldt counties are near or slightly above normal.

The NCRS office in Reno said there will be no Snotel site measurements in April.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of Nevada — except for the northeast and southern parts — at moderate drought to abnormally dry before the last storm to sweep through the area.

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