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Truckee River Symposium 2011, Sept. 27-29, 2011

Save the Date! September 27-29, 2011 at DRI.The purpose of this symposium is to communicate, investigate and evaluate science along the river.

Discussions will provide an understanding of Truckee River's important role in supporting northern Nevada and eastern California, while serving as a valuable resource to others who utilize the river. One element of this program is to provide all groups who work within the watershed a comprehensive understanding of what their colleagues are doing, and to bring critical Truckee River issues to the table for discussion. Drought, water quality, water resources, technical considerations and ecological elements will be discussed, with a mix of research, environmental, management and recreational perspectives included.

New Washoe water plan would allow extra day of watering

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • November 16, 2009

If approved by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority board on Dec. 16, the three-day-per-week watering schedule could be in place as soon as the coming spring.

Agency research shows customers restricted to only two days of watering per week "really pour the water on" but that irrigation practices are more moderate over a three-day period.

"We don't think there will be any more water used," said Mark Foree, the utility's general manager.

Leath Hayden, a 35-year Reno resident, said she supports expansion of residential watering. The two-day rule forces her to hand water the flowers at her Scholl Drive home, and she suspects that ends up using more water than if she could use her sprinkler system an extra day.

"I think it would be great," said Hayden, 62. "Our lawn and flowers could do better. I think it would make a difference."

Keystone Avenue resident Liam Campbell doesn't see the need for the change. He's already laid gravel on what used to be much of his front lawn as a means to conserve water.

"I think the two-day (limit) is a good example," said Campbell, 63. "It seems to be plenty. Like anything else in life, do it in moderation."

The twice weekly watering restriction was included in a 1996 settlement agreement with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe in litigation over Truckee River water. It required the limit remain in place until at least 90 percent of flat-rate customers were converted to metered service.

Of the 44,600 residential customers that were on flat-rate service in 1995, more than 98 percent now have meters, billing customers according to the amount of water used.

With that goal exceeded and studies showing an extra day of residential watering would not result in increased use of water overall, the switch appears justified, Foree said.

"Our customers for a number of years have asked us to add another day. It seems to be something that is desired by the community," he said.
The plan concludes there are adequate water supplies to serve the greater Reno-Sparks area from now until 2030, when Washoe County's population is expected to increase from 440,000 residents to 570,500.

"With our water supply, the combination of all our resources, we have sufficient (water) to take us beyond this planning period," said John Erwin, director of natural resources, planning and management for the water authority. "The projections are there are sufficient water resources. It appears we are on track."

The new plan also continues to prepare for a drought up to nine years in duration. Utility officials said backup water supplies could continue to meet demand during a drought that long, and that a nine-year drought is likely only once in 375 years.

In 2006 and 2009, utility experts teamed with scientists with the Desert Research Institute to determine whether climate change should be factored into water management decisions. Results varied and did not indicate the need for a change in water management practices in the Reno-Tahoe area, the report said.

"Thus far, it's just kind of watch for any future trends and adjust if we have to," Foree said of climate change.

Established in 2001 with the purchase of the water system formerly owned by Sierra Pacific Resources, the utility is jointly managed by the cities of Reno and Sparks and Washoe County and serves about 93,000 homes and businesses.

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