- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Conservation-minded residents in the Reno-Sparks area have saved enough water this summer that the region’s most important storage reservoir won’t have to be tapped for emergency drought relief as originally expected.

Lake Tahoe dropped below its natural rim in June, cutting off flows into the Truckee River, the metro area’s major source of water.

For the second year in a row, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority had to borrow from drought reserves upstream at Donner Lake, and Boca and Stampede reservoirs.

But thanks to local customers who voluntarily cut water usage by 10 percent, TMWA general manager Mark Foree says they won’t have to use any of the water stored at Independence Lake.

Foree told the Reno Gazette-Journal (https://tinyurl.com/pjzpb34) that’s “really good news” because it will be available next summer if needed.

Independence Lake is the largest of the reservoirs, with 17,000-acre feet of storage. The authority expects to have drawn about 10,000-acre feet of water from the three other sources by fall - about twice as much as had to be taken in summer 2014.

TWMA customers were asked to save a total of 5,000 acre feet through voluntary reductions.

“We’re virtually there right now,” Foree said. “This shows the importance of our customers pitching in.”

Foree was among those who appeared at Gov. Brian Sandoval’s drought summit last week.

Others included Andrew Strain, vice president of planning and government affairs for Heavenly Mountain and Northstar California ski resorts. Both properties are owned by Vail Resorts.

Poor snowfall over the last four winters has produced a challenge the ski resorts have largely met with snow-making, Strain said. But that important backup was impacted last winter by warmer-than-normal temperatures that limited snow-making at times, Strain said.

“The temperature data is going the wrong way,” Strain said. “If we can’t get the snow on the hill, the market starts to wander off. They find other things to do.”


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com

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