City and County Ramp Up Flood Mitigation Efforts

  • 2023-03-09, 08:25 PM (update 2023-03-09, 08:47 PM)
  • Leanna Lehman
City and County Ramp Up Flood Mitigation Efforts V-Line Canal weir.

In response to the possibility of record-breaking spring snow runoff and the likelihood of area flooding, Churchill County and the City of Fallon have issued emergency declarations in preparation for high-water events. 

Precautionary water draw-downs from the Lahontan Reservoir have begun to create extra space in the reservoir for incoming flows. By March 12, the county expects flows of 2,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the Carson River, placing an estimated 800 cfs in the Carson River and 1,000 cfs in the V-Line Weir, with the remainder to be released into area canals. 
In 2017, a break in the V-line canal was dug, creating a weir to relieve high water flows and release surplus water into the desert. Water flows south of town from the weir and crosses Hwy 95 via culverts. It then flows north to Hwy 50 through the Big Dig ditch under Hwy 50 and finally out to the Stillwater Refuge. The county reports the weir and the Big Dig ditch are in good working order and expected to handle the increased runoff adequately. 

This week, the Emergency Operations Command began high water operations, pre-filling sandbags for citizens that live along the Carson River. Efforts are ongoing to clear canals and irrigation ditches of trees, limbs, and other debris that could hinder water flow. The county urges caution and residents to stay safe from high flows. 

The City of Fallon’s Emergency Declaration, released on March 6, indicates elevated concerns that TCID’s efforts to direct and distribute the water will be insufficient to move the quantity of water required, posing a threat to property, residents in Fallon, and the surrounding areas, as well as the Schurz Highway (Hwy 95 South). Additionally, these conditions could last for months. As a result, the City of Fallon requested a state and federal declaration to assist with all available programs, including damage mitigation efforts and emergency repairs. 

Churchill County Update:

Sandbags Now Available: Pre-filled sandbags are available for pick-up Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day at 485 Miners Road just south of the Rafter 3C Arena. Three thousand bags were filled on March 7, with crews continuing to assemble more bags daily. 

Rising Ground Water: Water in crawl spaces may occur due to rising groundwater and current saturation levels along the river. Churchill County Building Official Marie Henson recommends opening crawl spaces and home vents to allow air to circulate under your home to help reduce dampness and prevent mold from forming.

Road Closures: Macari Lane, where it crosses the Big Dig ditch, is closed until further notice. 

Planning: Careful planning is being done on an ongoing basis to release only the water needed to keep the community safe while reserving water for the upcoming and future irrigation seasons. The Churchill County Emergency Operations Center will continue to provide updates via websites and social media. They appreciate everyone’s continued cooperation and support as they work diligently to protect our communities. 

“The Fallon Post” will continue to provide information as it becomes available. For more information on water conditions, visit  



Leanna Lehman



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