Hearing on Canal Repairs Postponed

  • 2022-08-26, 05:00 AM
  • Rachel Dahl
Hearing on Canal Repairs Postponed Davy Stix The Truckee Canal at the Fernley Reach where repairs will be done.

The hearing scheduled for this week in the 10th Judicial District Court to consider Truckee-Carson Irrigation District’s petition was postponed. The determination of the district’s Petition for Determination of Validity and Authority to enter into a contract with the United States to repay the monies needed for the repair of the Truckee Canal will have to wait a bit longer.

Based on pleadings received by the court, the hearing was vacated after filings of an Answer and Counterclaims to the district’s Petition, a Motion to Intervene, and a Notice of Peremptory Challenge from the City of Fernley.

On June 30, TCID held a special election asking water right holders whether the Truckee Canal should be completely shut off for a year to facilitate Reclamation’s canal lining project and asking the voters to ratify a repayment contract with Reclamation. The contract would require water right holders to repay the $35,000,000 cost of the project. TCID has now filed a petition in the Churchill County District Court seeking to have the repayment contract certified on the basis that it was duly authorized by the electorate. The City of Fernley is seeking to intervene in that case to advocate for Fernley’s interests.

The overwhelming number of TCID electors live in the Carson Division (Fallon) and will be only minimally affected by the project. In the Truckee Division (Fernley) the vote was 29 Yes and 123 No, while in the Carson Division (Fallon) it was 1,857 Yes and 45 No.

The City of Fernley filed a lawsuit attempting to stop the lining project, but that suit was dismissed by a U.S. District Court Judge. The City of Fernley’s appeal of that decision is still pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Reclamation said it planned to start the project on Oct. 2. That date may be delayed because there is a discrepancy in the two bids the Bureau received, and the project may have to be rebid.

The City of Fernley’s lawsuit claims that lining the canal will reduce the amount of seepage from the canal into the underground aquifer, which it says would cause some private wells to go dry.

“People don’t understand we need to do this, either repair the canal and continue to enjoy the use of our water or the flow will be reduced by regulation and greatly impact our rights,” said Rusty Jardine, recently retired General Manager of TCID. He explained that should the repairs not be made Reclamation will reduce the flow in the canal to 140 cubic feet per second to sustain the safe use of the canal which would, “greatly reduce the capacity and injure everyone in the Carson Division of the project as well.”

He said the BOR has established a 90% risk associated with the current use of the canal in the short term.

Originally, the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision on the canal lining completed in 2020, listed a preferred alternative that would line the entire 12 miles of the Fernley Reach of the canal.

According to Jardine, “Reclamation determined that lining the critical 3.5 miles of the Fernley Reach as the most risk prone. If there were a breach in those areas, this would address the risk, for the time being, protecting homes, lives, and property.”

Jardine says reducing flows in the Truckee Canal from 500 CFS to 140 CFS would be “catastrophic. That means only 100 CFS would reach Lahontan Reservoir, and Fernley users would be required to utilize pumps to get water out of the canal, and water rights owners would be severely injured.”

He recognized the severity of shutting off the Truckee Canal, saying, “this is a tremendous sacrifice by all the water right owners, lining the canal will restore it to full use. It will be safe, and we don’t have to worry about turning down the flow in a regulated drought.”

The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.



Rachel Dahl



Comments (0)

Adding comment means accepting the rules and regulations. Vulgar, offensive content that violates the rules and regulations will be removed.

By submitting comments, you accept the rules and regulations of the portal. (company name) located  in (city) is the administrator of your personal data for purposes related to the use of the website. According to law, providing personal data is voluntary, the User has the right to access their data at all times and correct them.