Donner Lake to drop 6 feet by end of year | SierraSun.com
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Donner Lake to drop 6 feet by end of year

Scott Hess

According to Bill Hauck, the senior water supply coordinator for the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Donner Lake will drop approximately 6 feet – approximately 1 /12 inches per day or 10 inches per week – by the end of the year.

While it may seem like a lot of water, Hauck said this is pretty standard and the amount doesn’t vary much from year to year, except in extreme circumstances like a drought.

In the Fall, Hauck explained, the California Department of Safety requires that the TMWA release that much water by mid-November due to flood issues.

“Basically, we have to get rid of water after Labor Day,” Hauck said.

He also mentioned the TMWA, along with the Truckee Carson Irrigation District, owns the top 12 feet of Donner Lake water. After Labor Day, the TMWA opens the floodgates and allows the water to flow through Donner Creek and to the Truckee River.

“We have a contract…to store the water in the Boca and Stampede reservoirs,” he added.

While the lower water level may not be ideal for those last Donner Lake trips of the summer, Hauck said the TMWA needs to make room for more water. “We capture the snow mountain runoff in the spring, and for the summer, get it as full as possible.”

He said there are certain minimums the TWMA has to maintain “for fishery reasons.” And because it is a water source for the community, natural occurrences like a drought could merit keeping the water in the lake.


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