Truckee Canal Safety Commission to meet
November 30, 2008
FERNLEY ” The Truckee Canal Safety Commission, which was formed in September by a resolution from the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, holds its first public meeting Monday at 4 p.m. at Fernley City Hall.
The Safety Commission’s existence is a direct result of the Jan. 5 breach of the Truckee Canal in Fernley which flooded 590 homes. Facing an expensive permanent fix to the canal, TCID instituted a District General Assessment on all property in the Newlands Irrigation Project and will use those funds to help cover repair costs.
The primary goal of the Safety Commission, said TCID board member David Stix Jr., is to decide how to spend the District General funds and present recommendations to the TCID board. Although property owners in both Lyon and Churchill counties pay the District General Assessment, funds will be used solely on the Truckee Canal.
“TCID has designated that all funds received through this assessment be dedicated to the upgrading of the Truckee Canal to improve safety and so that the Canal can provide transportation and delivery of water at its designed capacity,” states the resolution which created the Safety Commission.
Stix said the commission only has to meet once a year by resolution, but said meetings will be called as necessary throughout the year based on the various projects needing funding. He said all meetings will be open to the public and will be held in Fernley.
Monday’s meeting will include a brief description of the commission’s role, Stix said, the election of a chairman and vice chairman and a presentation about the plans for the permanent fix to the Fernley Reach of the Truckee Canal.
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When addressing the Fernley City Council last week, Stix said the Safety Commission would not address any matters that may be related to litigation centering on the January flood. He also said the Bureau of Reclamation, the owner of the Newlands Project, would not be involved in Monday’s meeting because the emphasis will solely be on the funding of the permanent fix.
Kenneth Parr, BOR area manager for the Lahontan Basin Area, said Wednesday he had not been informed of the Safety Commission’s upcoming meeting. However, securing funding to permanently upgrade the Truckee Canal is out of the BOR’s jurisdiction.
“We are prohibited by law to lobby for funds,” Parr said in September, adding the operations, maintenance and replacement contract with TCID stipulates the district will pay for canal rehabilitation.
The initial plan for the permanent fix, which includes a 12-inch barrier wall, up to 12 feet deep for an 11-mile stretch, was submitted to BOR by TCID in early October. Parr said TCID’s one-page plan is being evaluated by BOR engineers in Sacramento and Denver. He hopes to give TCID a formal response to its plan next week after receiving one last bit of information. The project was slightly behind schedule.
While Stix was optimistic repairs to the canal could begin about a year from now, Parr said several environmental clearances were needed before construction could begin. Parr would not venture an estimate on when repairs could begin, but said when both agencies reached an agreement on the plan and cost of the repair, it would be made public.