Drought

Laurel Saito, Ph.D., P.E.
UNR

Water is a major topic as well as a vital resource that needs careful study, planning and management to sustain all the human activity in our arid region. The University of Nevada, Reno, offers the nation's only undergraduate program in ecohydrology -- the blending of ecology, hydrology and biology, among other sciences. Ecohydrology involves understanding not just water cycles and natural systems, but the environmental and ecological effects from humans' systems for moving and using water.

The Sierra snowpack is now the worst it’s been in a century. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Jeff Anderson, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, just measured 13.2 inches of water content in the snowpack up at the Mt. Rose summit. In a normal season, there would be about 90 inches of snow.

“When you look at the mountains right now," he says, "and you look at the snow that’s up there, you’re really seeing history.”

A measurement of the snowpack this morning reveals that despite a slight improvement over last month, the drought is lingering on.  After trekking to the summit of Mt. Rose, state hydrologist Jeff Anderson scooped a core of the snowpack to weigh the water content.

“What we found was that the measurement is 15.9 inches of water in the snowpack, which is almost twice as much as what we measured at the end of last month and so that’s good news."

Water fight takes shape in Northern Nevada

Dec 12, 2014
Chuck Schlarb

 A battle over water is brewing on the parched earth of the Black Rock Desert. An effort to transport water from Humboldt County more than 100 miles south has residents and ranchers alarmed. 

Chuck Giordano grows alfalfa on the outskirts of the Black Rock Desert in a place appropriately known as Desert Valley. But don’t let the name fool you. When it comes to water, he’s lucky.

“We have a fairly good reserve of water underneath us because our water table, even with the drought, has hardly dropped any.”

As Tahoe warms, oxygen and clarity could decrease

Aug 14, 2014
Will Stone

In the lead up to next week’s Tahoe Summit, researchers are taking stock of how warmer temperatures are impacting the lake’s iconic clear waters. Earlier this week, we looked at concerns about water quality near the shore. But, as it turns out, climate change may also affect oxygen levels in the lake.

 

 

Bob Conrad/This Is Reno

UNR and DRI researchers in Northern Nevada are launching a broad effort to better predict and prepare for severe drought and climate change. 

 

While many places are feeling the impacts of climate change, Western Nevada and the Sierra make a good case study. For one, the trends in temperature change here track almost exactly with the global ones. Along with that, Maureen McCarthy, a UNR researcher, says our desert environment, fed by snowfall in the mountains, is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. 

Nevada Department of Wildlife

Wildlife officials have been salvaging fish from ditches around Reno that are depleted because of the ongoing drought.

Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the operation saved about six thousand fish.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority usually operates the Washoe and Verdi ditches as hydroelectric power sources, but the authority shut down all water flows to the ditches this week because of the drought.

Residents asked to cut back on outdoor water use

Jul 28, 2014

Over the last few days, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority has been reaching out to its customers, asking them to cut back on watering their lawns. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports the request comes as more impacts of the ongoing drought are expected to emerge across the region this week.

The authority has sent notices to customers asking them to cut their outdoor water use by ten percent. It's not an action taken lightly.

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