Drought

NOAA/MODIS

We all know snowfall in the Sierras has been light in recent years, but new research reveals that 2015 marked a 500-year-low for snowpack in the region.

Water Conservation Dips In August

Sep 8, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  Water conservation dipped last month, according to new numbers from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the reduction fell just shy of their goal.

Residents reduced their water usage by nine percent last month. That's a little short of the utility's voluntary reduction target of 10 percent — and the first month since May that customers didn't exceed TMWA’s goal.

Bill Hauck is a senior hydrologist at the authority. He says even after the hot, dry months are over, users should continue to cut back.

Farmers Air Water Woes At Drought Forum

Aug 20, 2015
Julia Ritchey

A host of worried farmers testified at a panel gauging the effect of drought in Nevada at a state hearing in Sparks Wednesday. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

 

Representatives from the cattle, wool and farming industries spoke at the Nevada Drought Forum, arguing against any further cutbacks in water allocation.

The farmers said the drought and subsequent water restrictions had slashed their incomes, increased operating costs and made it hard to plan for the future. 

Enviro Groups Conserve Former Sierra Logging Tract

Aug 13, 2015
American River Conservancy

More than 10,000 acres of Sierra Nevada forest will become a living laboratory for scientists to study forest restoration and wildfire-reduction techniques. That’s thanks to a deal finalized last week by The Nature Conservancy, American River Conservancy and Northern Sierra Partnership to acquire the land, which connects the North Fork American River with the Granite Chief Wilderness.

In addition to restoring habitat in the forest for the endangered spotted owl, scientists plan to study the impacts of forest thinning on wildfires, water quality and drought.

KUNR

  A report detailing the state of Lake Tahoe was released on Thursday, raising concerns about the continued impact of low water levels. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

A packed conference room listened raptly as Geoff Schladow went over a few of the most salient points in this year’s report at the Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.

Schladow directs the the University of California-Davis’ Tahoe Environmental Research Center. He says some of their main concerns are increasing amounts of microscopic algae and the rate of evaporation.

John Sagebiel, Ph.D.
UNR

Sustainability is an essential aspect of today’s buildings and systems -- along with being an important way of operating and living today -- and the University of Nevada, Reno is no exception. The university’s innovative systems, designs and practices -- and the people leading the sustainability efforts on campus -- are the topic of conversation on KUNR's Beyond the Headlines.

Kim Shiflett / NASA

Two federal agencies are teaming up in effort to help farmers in Nevada and other parts of the county better predict and prepare for an increasingly dry future.

Farm industry officials in Nevada say a more innovative and accurate drought response system can help production efforts going forward. That's where a new partnership between the US Department of Agriculture and NASA comes in. The agencies are expanding the use of satellite technology to gather data on soil moisture and create space-borne maps showing drought effects in specific regions.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is now using drought reserves to meet customer demand.

Usually, surface water from the Truckee River provides 90 percent of what area customers use, but since river flows are so low, the authority has now tapped into its upstream drought reserves in Boca Reservoir. 

"We actually anticipated being in this position several weeks ago," says Bill Hauck, senior hydrologist for the agency, "but the rain we had in May brought a significant amount of rainfall which found its way to the river. It basically enhanced our supply by several weeks."

Rains Help Water Supply

Jun 11, 2015
Reno Public Radio

The rain coupled with customer response to the drought in northern Nevada has led to good news for the water supply. 

 

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority reports water production for May was 19 percent lower than the same month in 2013. That equals approximately half a billion gallons in saved water.  

Rancho San Rafael Pasture Closed

Jun 8, 2015
Esther Ciammachilli

Starting today the multi-use pasture at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park will be closed to the public due to lingering drought conditions. 

The closure, which is expected to last through summer and possibly the fall, is due to a lack of irrigation water needed to sustain the grass in the pasture, used mostly as an off-leash run for dogs. Irrigation comes from the Highland Ditch which is fed from the Truckee River. However, the Federal Water Master has shut the ditch off due to low water flows. Making the situation even worse was a very dry winter.

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