Water consumption triples in the Truckee area | SierraSun.com

Water consumption triples in the Truckee area

Kelly Ruane
Sierra Sun

Consumption of treated water in the Truckee area almost exactly triples during the summer months, most due to irrigation by large customers, water officials said last week.

In the winter months, January through March, water consumption tops out at 4 million gallons a day.

Sound like a lot?

During July and August, the amount of water used in the area soars to 12 million gallons per day. But the increased demand does not come from the 11,500 single-family households served by the Truckee Donner Public Utility District.

Water System Engineer Neil Kaufman said the higher rate is due in large part to the district’s major customers.

“The school district, rec and park district, Tahoe Donner golf course: Those are large irrigation uses that obviously don’t happen in the winter time,” Kaufman said in an interview.

The district pumps water from 12 different wells in the Martis Valley. The wells are drilled and the water is pumped from the underground aquifer.

Fortunately, the water system is built to handle the annual peak that occurs in the summer months because of the district’s location in the heart of the Sierra Nevada conifer forest. The water system is built larger than required to supply domestic needs because of its importance to firefighting. With the area so susceptible to fire, having the extra water supply helps meet the extra demand of July and August.

Although there are no statistics available about the district’s summer population increase from tourism and second homeowners, Kaufman pointed to increased residential use.

“Surely there is residential irrigation that occurs in the summertime that does not occur in the winter,” Kaufman said.

The Truckee Donner district serves the downtown Truckee area, Armstrong and Biltz tracts, Glenshire, Tahoe Donner, Meadow Park, Gateway, Sierra Meadows, Ponderosa Palisades, Ponderosa Ranchos, Olympic Heights, Prosser Heights, Prosser Lakeview, Donner Lake and Hirschdale.