TCID, BOR race to fix breach site |

TCID, BOR race to fix breach site

Steve Puterski
It was an interesting year for TCID because of water flow, drought, a centennial and the sale of Donner Lake assets.


Daily updates will be posted by staff from the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Distrcit on the status of repair work from the breach at the Lewis wasteway. Visit for information.

Direct and composed, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District laid out its plans to deliver water after Thursday’s breach at the Lewis Spillway.

The board also voted to lower the water allotment to 17 percent as a result of the breach.

The embankment at the Lewis site broke at about 1 a.m. Thursday and flows from Lahontan Reservoir were immediately stopped. No property damage was reported.

Once word of the breach spread, employees of TCID and engineers and staff from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation appeared on site and began the process of repairing the damage.

In addition, TCID President Ernie Schank said any residents or individuals who attempt to linger or tour the breach site will be removed. He cited safety concerns and urged individuals to refer to TCID’s website for daily updates about the repairs.

Jack Horsley, deputy area manager of the Lahontan Basin office in Carson City, said work is moving quickly and expects work to be finished by May 15. In addition, no cause for the breach has been discovered and the matter is still under investigation, Horsley added.

He, along with the district, detailed the plan created by engineers from the BOR to fix the embankment to resume deliveries down the V-Line as soon as possible.

Horsley said sand, gravel and clay will be compacted and supported by a cloth-like membrane to prevent water seepage. The membrane is a tough, rugged material 20-millimeters thick and specifically designed and used in other canal systems and dams throughout the country, Horsely added.

As for deliveries, the board opted to lower the allotment in part because of the breach and also in hopes of timing deliveries to match all water users in the Carson Division.

The district will open Diversion Dam to charge the T- and S-lines and use the Carson River as a way to bypass the V-Line to move water down the system to users in Stillwater.

Repairs from the breach could have caused an even longer delay for users in Stillwater.

Walt Winder, deputy project manager, said with the construction delays it could be up to three weeks before those users received any water, while all the other users upstream would have already irrigated.

Scheduler Kelly Herwick agreed and reported it would take at least six days under optimal conditions for water to reach Stillwater. However, with so many orders already placed, plus construction delays, natural losses and a limited amount of heads open, an additional week or two could be added to the timeline.

As a result, the remaining water may not have allowed the Stillwater users their full allotment.

This proposal, however, allows for an even and fair compromise for the entire division, director Eric Olsen said. As for the allotments, Olsen said his personal opinion is the district will be able to return to the 20 percent level, but as a way to get started in spite of the breach, the 17 percent option and the new flow pattern was logical.

As for the breach, Winder said he discovered a three-foot wide hole at the embankment and the area underneath was nearly the size of the TCID board room, which is about 40 feet long by 20 feet wide.