Water allotment remains at 20 percent for Carson Division | NevadaAppeal.com

Water allotment remains at 20 percent for Carson Division

Steve Puterski
As of Friday morning, the level at Lahontan Reservoir is 61,499 acre feet.

Despite a healthy conversation about the upcoming water season for the Carson Division, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District Board of Directors held firm on a 20-percent allotment for water users.

The board met Friday in a special meeting to discuss whether or not to reduce the allotment to 15 percent, which is the percentage derived by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Directors challenged the BOR’s findings using 40 and 50 percent efficiency models, which came back with enough water to push through the system at a 20 percent allotment.

Nevertheless, the board voted to revisit the issue in 21 days and will also meet for its regular monthly meeting on May 5. The board, though, cautioned water users the allotment may be reduced at the next meeting and for individuals to be prepared for such action.

Despite the inaction on the current allotment, Directors Eric Olsen and Joe Gomes voiced concerns of not being able to live up to the district’s promise of a 20-percent allotment.

As a result, the board agreed to revisit the situation in May.

As for the Truckee Division, the board said about 63 percent of the total allotment has been used. The board estimated the Truckee Division will have used its full portion in 7-10 days.

Another issue, however, is the possibility of gaining storage water from Donner Reservoir and using what water is left in the Truckee Canal to carry the reserves to Lahontan Reservoir.

The method would ensure minimal, if any, losses due to saturation and other means.

TCID President Ernie Schank said there is about 1,400 acre-feet, but the BOR is working toward releasing it. It could take as long as two weeks.

Regardless of storage water, Schank said the Carson Division is estimated to have a 60-day window to irrigate.

Carson Lake Pasture, meanwhile, may only have a two-month period of use since no drinking water is currently available for cattle.

Director Lester de Braga, though, reported there is feed ready for livestock, but the issue is getting water to the pasture.

He said about 1,000 to 1,100 cattle could graze on the land if water is available, and the income received from fees would cover TCID’s cost.

In addition, de Braga said if plans fall into place, cattle could be put on the pasture on May 4.

Another discussion centered on effectively delivering water to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Stillwater Refuge without putting in peril either the agency or water users.

Schank proposed splitting the season into halves, as users could only use 10 percent of their allotment in the first 30 days, then use the remaining portion in the final 30 days as a way to efficiently carry the water to the refuge.

The option, though, was quickly scrapped by the board as they opted to keep the status quo.