Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 2 – Local lakes dip without water | SierraSun.com

Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 2 – Local lakes dip without water

the staff of the Sierra Sun

Sun File PhotoA look at Lake Tahoe, which dipped below its natural rim this past year for the first time in about 5 years.

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. – We would prefer to look at 2009 with one eye closed. For a brief time, the region saw the economy dip down to levels not seen since the late 80s, and optimism dip even further. During that volatility, the stress on us as a region was evident. We fought and filed lawsuits, we packed our bags and left, and much of our community was pointing fingers about the future of the school district.

Frankly, it wasn’t much fun, which is why we’d prefer just to move on and forget most of it. Yet, that would be too easy. Between the bad news headlines and tragedies did lay a bit of silver lining. Those in the region who survived 2009 – however you define that – will walk into 2010 with a resolve and a confidence unparalleled in most of our lifetimes.

The evidence is clear. Development on the horizon is beginning to employ more workers. Early snowfall propelled the region to the top of the resort world for the 2009 Christmas holiday week, and the school district is beginning to refocus itself away from the politics and back to the classroom. But we don’t have to remind our readers how far we still have to go, and the volume of challenges we have to overcome to protect our region and our quality of life.

So, to 2009 and all its bittersweet memories, we bid you adieu and thank you for the whipping. And when you finally go, please don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and definitely don’t look back.

Three back-to-back disappointing winters left little water to fill local lakes, and the big one, Lake Tahoe, dipped below its natural rim for the first time in about five years.

That means water drawn down the Truckee River for Reno and Sparks residents, plus evaporation and other natural forces, led to the Truckee River dwindling to a trickle by summer’s end.

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Other reservoirs like Prosser and Boca were called on to help, but by fall fell short, leaving the Truckee River a comparative trickle as it ran down the canyon toward Nevada.

Now the region can only wait to see what the winter will bring in snow and rain, and leads us to wonder if it’s time to alter Lake Tahoe’s famous “Keep Tahoe Blue” slogan. Perhaps, through water conservation advocacy and a little common sense, we can add “Keep Tahoe Full” into the lexicon.