Energy and Environment

TMWA Buys Water Rights For Donner Lake

Jan 6, 2016
Amy Westervelt

Truckee Meadows Water Authority now has complete ownership of Donner Lake's storage rights. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the lake is another important drought reserve for the region.

Since the 1940s, TMWA and its predecessor, Sierra Pacific Power, has owned one half of Donner Lake's water rights in California. The other half belonged to the Truckee Carson Irrigation District, made up mostly of Fernley and Fallon-area farmers.

But last month the irrigation district agreed to sell its stake in Donner to TMWA to the tune of $17 million.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Snowpack measurements across the Eastern Sierra and Northern Nevada are coming in higher than normal. For the latest snowpack update, let's check in with Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman.

As a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Jeff Anderson oversees about 100 snow telemetry sites, also called SNOTEL stations. He visited one on Mt. Rose Monday where he measured 54 inches of snow, containing almost 16 inches of water content.

Julia Ritchey

 Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, are trying to make a tiny, ancient grain called Tef more productive in the face of a warming planet.

If you've tried Ethiopian food, chances are you've heard of tef, a small, poppy-seed sized cereal chock-full of nutritional value.

Biochemistry professor John Cushman has spent the last couple of years studying tef at UNR’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.

Solar Companies Cry Foul Over New NV Metering Rules

Dec 25, 2015
Marufish, Flickr, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission voted to change rates for rooftop solar customers this week — prompting an outcry from solar companies and their advocates, like Sen. Harry Reid, who say the decision is major blow to the industry. 

 

Ask the CEO of one of the country’s largest rooftop solar companies what impact he thinks the commission’s decision will have on the state’s burgeoning solar industry, and you get this:

 

“No, it’s destroyed. Done.”

 

Amy Westervelt

The Tahoe Basin snowpack is better right now than at any point last winter. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Jeff Anderson is a water supply specialist with the Nevada Snow Survey Program which regularly measures the snowpack. He says that in the past two winters, it's taken until February to reach as much snow as they're measuring now.

But that doesn't actually mean a whole lot just yet.

Seismology Lab Director Explains Reno's Big Jolt

Dec 23, 2015
Nevada Seismology Lab website

  

  As many Renoites were falling asleep Tuesday night, a series of earthquakes sent strong jolts throughout the Truckee Meadows. Earthquakes aren’t new to the state, but the size of this one did get the attention of scientists at the Nevada Seismological Lab. To learn more, our reporter Julia Ritchey called up Graham Kent who directs the lab here at UNR.

Q: What did we feel Tuesday night?

Despite Smaller Footprint, Tahoe Project Worries Enviro Groups

Dec 21, 2015

  The public comment period closes Tuesday, Dec. 22  for a new project next to Northstar Resort. While developers have reduced the project's size, some environmental groups remain concerned about its impact.

The Martis Valley West Project was initially submitted to Placer County two years ago, but has changed significantly since then after conservation groups pushed for more open space.

The current plan proposes moving the development from its original site to a parcel of land adjacent to Northstar.

Courtesy Academy for the Environment at UNR

Maureen McCarthy is executive director of the Academy for the Environment at University of Nevada, Reno. Two of the Academy's most recent projects involve working closely with farmers, water districts, and tribal communities to get a sense of how variations in climate affect the water they depend upon, and what can be done to mitigate those impacts. 

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

This week, we've been bringing you local coverage on climate change in light of the international climate deal just reached in Paris. In Washoe County, some officials are concerned about the threat of flooding this winter.

Local Climate Plans Tackle Fire, Floods, And Funding

Dec 16, 2015
Amy Westervelt

 

Nationally, climate change remains a highly politicized issue, with senators and some presidential candidates still arguing about whether the science is valid. But at the local level, adapting to climate change is more about pragmatism than politics. 

 

After four years of severe drought and diminished snow pack, this winter’s El Nino storms are a welcome sight. They’re also a potential hazard. 

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