Lahontan Reservoir storage now over 202,000 acre-feet | NevadaAppeal.com
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Lahontan Reservoir storage now over 202,000 acre-feet

BURKE WASSON
Nevada Appeal News Service

The effects of last year’s heavy snowstorms are still clearly seen in Lahontan Reservoir, which could result in another soggy spring for irrigation customers.

Truckee-Carson Irrigation District Engineer Dave Overvold said Lahontan Reservoir was recorded at a level of 202,000 acre-feet Friday, which is significantly higher than the roughly 112,000 acre-feet level calculated on that day in 2005.

That high level before the spring runoff has started could result in a full reservoir sooner than previously anticipated.

“The big question coming up is, ‘Will we have to make any precautionary release if (the reservoir) is too high?'” Overvold said. “This year, we’ve started out too high. We’ll have to see how the run-off holds out before we decide anything.”

One way in which Overvold said irrigation district officials would not have to worry about a possible early release into canals is if Fallon experiences a warm or excessively windy late winter and early spring.

“If it’s real hot and windy in March and people are anxious to get their water started,” Overvold said, “then we could open the season earlier.”

Overvold said the 2006 irrigation season is tentatively scheduled to begin March 15 at the earliest. If not, he said April 1 would signal the opening of the floodgates, so to speak.

Overvold said he and the rest of the district anticipate a good outlook for the 2006 irrigation season.

As far as full allocations of water go for Fallon farmers, irrigation district officials won’t know those levels for sure until the spring, after the winter’s snow pack is finished and run-off has been assessed.

This year’s unusually high amount of storage, Overvold said, signifies that the irrigation district will “obviously” not have a need to divert water from the Truckee River.

Nov. 15 marked the end of last year’s irrigation season, which was much wetter than usual.

Lake levels in July 2005 were only two feet away from the top of flashboards put in place to control any spill-over.

Beaches and shorelines were flooded during the summer months as the lake was noticeably fuller than in years past because of the previous winter’s snowfall.

— Burke Wasson can be contacted at bwasson@lahontanvalleynews.com