Why We Need to Conserve Water

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RENO, NV - The time has come to conserve. TMWA is requesting this week that residents reduce their outdoor water usage by 10%. Those normally running the sprinklers for ten minutes should cut it back to 9. Watering is also discouraged between the hours of 11am and 7pm. But does any of this really make a difference in our drought situation?

Water Tuesday night was flowing steadily out of Boca Reservoir, but Wednesday that will stop. The lake will essentially be out of water. That means TMWA will turn to its drought reserves to keep Reno watered.

The call for conservation is happening as the water supply in Boca Reservoir nears empty.

"The Water Master will begin staging down releases out of Boca Reservoir. There will be nothing coming out," said Bill Hauck, Hydrologist with TMWA.

To supplement our water supply, TMWA will start pulling from our drought reserves.

"The water stored in Donner Lake... the water stored in Independence Lake and we also have a federal contract with the Bureau of Reclamation for some of the water stored in Boca and Stampede," said Hauck.

TMWA says our drought reserves can last us 9 years, but that is only if we conserve. If you are using more water at home, that means more water will flow out of reservoirs, not as much will be saved up if we need it for drought conditions in future years.

"Any water that we conserve now can be use potentially for next year," said Hauck.

That's the reason TMWA wants to see less outdoor water use.

"The water that they save will actually be able to be held back in Boca for next year if we were to have another dry year," said Hauck.

It makes sense why the reduction is needed; about four times as much water is used during the summer than the winter.

While it is always important to conserve water, it hasn't really mattered until now. The Truckee River flows would have remained at the same level, no matter the usage. But now that we're pulling reserves, we only want to use what we absolutely need.