Judge Will Issue Order On Fernley Canal Wednesday

A federal judge in Reno indicated today he's likely to order at least a temporary cutback in water flows through an irrigation canal to help guard against the threat of another failure like the breach that flooded hundreds of Fernley homes in January.

U.S. District Judge Lloyd George continued a hearing on the matter until next Tuesday. But he said late today he will issue a written order tomorrow on a request from flood victims to freeze water flows at a level of 250 cubic feet per second.

The canal currently is running at 350 cfs, less than half the capacity of 750 cfs. About 2,000 farmers and ranchers in the area say they need more water than that for their crops and livestock.

Judge George suggested in his questioning of an expert witness and lawyers for both sides today that he is leaning toward limiting the flows to no more than 300 cfs as a temporary measure until the hearing resumes next week.

Bob Hager, a Reno lawyer representing the flood victims, says that's what he thinks George will do.

A lawyer for the Truckee Carson Irrigation District says he has no prediction on what the judge will do.