Last year's hefty snowpack in the Sierra and heavy rain over the New Year's holiday is still evident at Lahontan Reservoir, where the water level is higher than this time last year.
As of Friday, the reservoir east of Fallon had 202,000 acre-feet
of water, significantly more than the 112-thousand acre-feet
calculated on the same day last year, said Dave Overvold, an
engineer with the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.
Overvold said the high level now could mean a full reservoir
sooner than previously anticipated, and provide adequate irrigation
for Fallon-area farmers.
But he added that time, weather and the spring runoff will
determine whether precautionary releases are needed to prevent
spillover, should the reservoir become too full.
"This year, we've started out too high. We'll have to see how
the runoff holds out before we decide anything," Overvold said.
A warm or windy spring could minimize that need if farmers need
irrigation water sooner rather than later, he said.
"If it's real hot and windy in March and people are anxious to
get their water started," Overvold said, "then we could open the
Overvold said the 2006 irrigation season is tentatively
scheduled to begin March 15 at the earliest.
TCID officials said they won't know how much water Fallon
farmers will receive until later this spring.
But Overvold said this year's unusually high amount of storage
means the irrigation district will not have to divert water from
the Truckee River.