IVGID tip: Tahoe public works community coming together

Joe Pomroy
Special to the Bonanza
A contractor installs a new fire hydrant near Spitsen Lumber in Incline Village to improve fire fighting flows in this commercial area.
Courtesy M. LeFrancois |

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Tip of the week” is a periodic feature running in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, in partnership with the Incline Village General Improvement District, providing locals with various tips pertaining to the recreation opportunities and services the district provides.

It’s no secret that wildfires are a constant threat to the Lake Tahoe Basin. In the summer of 2007, the Angora fire along Lake Tahoe’s south shore scorched almost five square miles and destroyed more than 250 homes.

A California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission Report issued after the Angora fire included a finding that, “Much of the Tahoe Basin public and private water distribution infrastructure is inadequate to provide fire flows necessary to meet fire codes and fire agency needs.” 

In response, the Lake Tahoe Community Fire Protection Partnership, a Nevada/California collaboration, was formed. In 2009, with the active leadership of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the partnership began to implement an infrastructure upgrade program that will deliver enhanced fire protection to our region.

The leadership of the congressional delegation and the U.S. Forest Service has provided $13 million in federal partnership assistance, leveraging local funding to secure improved fire suppression infrastructure for the region. The partnership’s accomplishments are numerous and include: 

80,901 linear feet (15 .3 miles) of water line with new fire hydrants every 500 lineal feet that deliver reliable fire fighting response,

10 water storage tanks with a 3.8 million gallon storage capacity,

5 booster pump stations to increase water supply flow; and

6 emergency generators to provide backup energy to deliver water supply should energy disruptions occur.

The partnership illustrates the benefits of collaboration of all the public water systems in the Tahoe Basin. The just-introduced Lake Tahoe Restoration Act (S.1451) takes the lessons learned from the partnership and authorizes water infrastructure improvements for fire suppression, as part of a comprehensive strategy to restore and protect the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The partnership applauds the sponsors of this bill Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Reid and Heller. We urge all communities in the Tahoe Basin to join with the partnership and support this important legislation that will deliver increased security for the unique ecosystem that is Lake Tahoe.

The Lake Tahoe Community Fire Protection Partnership Members Are: South Tahoe Public Utility District (lead agency), Incline Village General Improvement District, North Tahoe Public Utility District, Tahoe City Public Utility District, Lakeside Mutual Water Company, Round Hill General Improvement District, Kingsbury General Improvement District and the Douglas County Community Development.

Joe Pomroy is director of public works for the Incline Village General Improvement District.

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