Across the Universe: Rumor vs. reality with Tahoe’s water situation |

Across the Universe: Rumor vs. reality with Tahoe’s water situation

Hey, did you hear the news? No boats will be allowed to launch on Lake Tahoe this summer.


Yep. All the boat ramps are going to be closed because the water level is low. The drought is that bad.

Wow. That’s crazy!

I know. You know what’s even crazier? None of the marinas are going to be open, either, which means no kayak rentals, no Jet Ski rides, no pontoon excursions. Nothing. Restaurants are going to suffer. Beaches will be bare. The economy is going to plummet. I hear they’re even going to pump water out of Tahoe this summer to help Sacramento. Basically, Tahoe is screwed.


I suppose I could have chosen to publish the above fake conversation two weeks ago on April 1, having some fun by way of April Fools’ Day.

But, I felt it a bit more appropriate to wait a couple weeks before talking about two of a newspaper editor’s favorite “Rs” — “rumor” and “reality.”

Quick story: I was about 10 years old the first time I fell victim to a rumor. I was in the fifth grade, and I had the hots for a girl in our clique.

Rumor had it, I was told, she liked me too.

So, I tried to kiss her.

Now in reality, the girl in fact did NOT feel the same way.

To put it another way — the reality of the situation was the welt on my face moments after the attempted smooch from being slapped.

So what does this childish memory mean in terms of Lake Tahoe? Well that above fake conversation is just that — it’s bogus and simply not true.

But, it reflects a series of rumors that I and others have heard and seen on social media circles here at Tahoe-Truckee, and among those in the Bay Area.

I’ve been hearing these “sky is falling” scenarios for some time now, but in reality, the end of the world is not here at Lake Tahoe … yet.

Yes, Sand Harbor will not open its boat ramp this year, as we reported online Tuesday. And yes, other ramps will not open either.

The situation is not ideal. As Jay Howard, Nevada State Parks supervisor at Sand Harbor told me Tuesday, water levels are the worst they’ve been in more than 20 years.

But, the reality of the situation is that Cave Rock, Lake Forest, and Obexer’s, among other ramps, will open. Will some be limited? Yes. But they will open.

Now, if the drought continues into the next couple winters, then perhaps our reality will be a bit different in the future. But for now, it’s important for people to not buy into these doomsday rumors.

If you see something on Facebook that seems off (like, Tahoe’s water being pumped to help farmers in the valleys, which I’ve seen people fall victim to believing), don’t just share it blindly, or contribute to the problem with uninformed comments. It doesn’t do anyone good.

Personally, I feel this summer at Truckee and Tahoe will be the busiest this area has ever seen in terms of tourism, congestion and summer economic influx.

It’s just going to take a smarter group of people — both in terms of common sense with water conservation, and not being duped with rumor vs. reality — to tell the correct stories of the long-term impact.

Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun. He may be reached for comment at

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