Good news for Truckee-Carson Irrigation District
FALLON, Nev. ” Despite another year of below-average snowpack in the Sierra, farmers and ranchers in the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District can expect to receive at least four-fifths of their water allocation in the water season that begins April 1.
The district board voted on Monday to establish an allocation rate of 80 percent but predicted the more than 2,500 users should receive about 90 percent of the water they need to meet their irrigation needs in the coming season.
“It’s easier to raise the allocation than to lower it,” said Ernie Schank, the board president.
Project manager Dave Overvold said the district will have close to 100 percent of the water it needs this season, approximately 270,000 acre-feet, but that doesn’t include evaporation and losses of about 35,000 acre-feet each year.
Last year’s allocation fluctuated several times and ranged from 100 percent to 75 percent before settling at 80 percent in mid-August.
Overvold said the allocation is determined by looking at the long-term record of stream flows, figuring how to operate the project’s various reservoirs according to the water operating agreements, calculating Truckee River diversions and analyzing the water supply forecast provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Storage in Lahontan Reservoir should be at 100,000 acre-feet by April 1, Overvold said. Carson River run-off is projected at 95,000 acre-feet between April and July.
Lahontan Reservoir storage was at 74,500 acre-feet on Feb. 28, or about 38 percent of average. Last year, the reservoir storage was about 56 percent of average at the end of February. Lahontan storage has grown each day in March and measured 83,531 acre-feet on Tuesday.
Streamflows are expected to be below average this year, according to the NRCS report, with the Carson River East Fork peak flow of 500 cubic feet per second anticipated on June 14. The river is expected to flow at 55 percent of average during the March-July forecast period and at 53 percent of average during the April-July forecast period.