Carson River through Dayton reaches ‘extreme drought’ level | SierraSun.com

Carson River through Dayton reaches ‘extreme drought’ level

Associated Press

DAYTON, Nev. (AP) ” The hot, dry summer has taken a severe toll along the Carson River where its channel winds through Dayton.

Other than a few puddles of water that disappear into the ground and come up downstream, the river is dry.

This season’s lack of water has created extreme drought conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor Center has a 5-point scale and Dayton Valley currently sits in the fourth level, or “extreme drought.” All the rest of Nevada is at the third level of “severe drought” after the dry winter.

Dayton-area farmers and ranchers are relying on ground water, which is sufficient because the previous two winters were very wet.

But experts say that if there’s a second dry year like this one, those could be jeopardized as well.

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“It has been a very dry year,” said Ed James, general manager of the Carson Water Subconservancy District. “You can get these dry years. Last year, precipitation was at about 180 percent of normal.”

This year is at 52 percent of normal.

On the plus side, James said the Dayton Valley Conservation District has been working to repair flood damage to diversion dams, banks and other areas of the river that happened in January 2006 and should be able to get out in the dry channel more easily to get its work done.

James said his subconservancy district is helping to gather data for a better interpretation of the entire watershed.

One thing people should understand when they are looking at the Carson River is that there is very little upstream storage, James said.

“That means you can have a flood in January and have the river go dry by August.”

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