Local government officials have been working tirelessly for the past week to gear up for potential flooding throughout the valley due to the unprecedented amount of snow and rain in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this year.
During the Churchill County Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 15, County Manager Jim Barbee reported on the activities since the County declared emergency operations on March 2, (https://www.thefallonpost.org/news/5409,county-declares-emergency-to-prepare-for-potential-flooding) and Governor Lombardo declared a state of emergency in Douglas, Lyon, and Churchill counties late last Friday, March 10.
Churchill County has been working with Caleb Cage, a longtime contractor for the county, to assist with the flooding situation. According to Barbee, Cage is a graduate of West Point and has been managing the creation of the Central Nevada Health District for the county. Under Governor Sisolak, Cage was the lead in the COVID response and during the flood of 2017, he managed the emergency management facility for the State of Nevada under Governor Sandoval.
Through the emergency powers of the county, Cage will lead the incident emergency response for this current flooding event.
The county is also working closely with the City of Fallon, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, and the Bureau of Reclamation. “Gary Fowkes was heavily involved in the 2017 response,” said Barbee. Fowkes is the Director of the Churchill County Road Department.
Last week during the weather update at TCID, officials said they believe there are 1.1 million acre-feet of potential water on the mountain above 6,000 feet elevation. “That was LIDAR done at the end of February and we’re waiting for an update, but it’s safe to say that everyone feels pretty confident that there’s more snow water up there than there was in 2017,” said Barbee. “There is a potential to see that water come down in maybe a shorter amount of time. That creates some obvious concerns that Emergency Management is engaged in reviewing hand in hand with Bureau of Rec to make sure we can move as much water through the system as possible.”
Lahontan Reservoir will hold 308,000 acre-feet of water with the flashboards in place on the dam. Currently, the reservoir holds 145,000 acre-feet and the flows out of the reservoir through the Carson River are 2,420 cubic feet per second. As of Thursday, March 14, inflows into the reservoir from the Carson River through the Ft. Churchill gauge are at 3,140 cfs, down from nearly 6,000 cfs on March 12.
Barbee said water is being released through the V-Line weir down around Bravo-16 Range and out the Big Dig and into the Carson Pasture. “We’re teeing up the resources to be able to respond and do everything we can to keep the community safe as was done in 2017 quite brilliantly,” he said.
Commissioners will continue to receive updates at meetings every two weeks and “The Post” will continue to provide any updates that are made available.
During the TCID meeting on Tuesday, March 14, the Board of Directors approved opening the water season as of that date and will take water orders. Additionally, the district is asking that anyone who would like to make use of Spread Water contact the office at 423-6511 and make arrangement for deliveries.
Spread Water means water that the district is trying to spread to lands throughout the area to help minimize the risk of flooding. Both water-righted and non-water-righted lands are eligible to receive spread water. The delivery of the water is not charged against a water-right owner’s annual allocation. The Board of Directors waived the minimal charge of a $1/acre foot for delivered water to non-irrigated water-righted lands which is normally used to cover the costs to TCID for delivering the water. The district will also assist in cleaning delivery facilities if necessary.
Updates on weather conditions and potential flooding will be provided as they are made available.
Missing my friend Leo 💜