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Dealing with Drought part 4 of 5: How do we compare with other municipalities?


About this series

This is Reno sat down with Kim Mazeres, Truckee Meadows Water Authority’s director of customer relations, to explore the complex topic of how a water purveyor deals with the tough realities of drought. We sought to find out more about our area’s water use in key areas:

  1. How well prepared our region is to deal with drought.
  2. Why TMWA schedules water conservation for specific times rather than year-round.
  3. Why TMWA is tapping its reserves for the first time in 20 years.
  4. Which water users are most targeted for conservation, and why.
  5. What rules and regulations require TMWA to act and when.
  6. What key agreement, now in court, will greatly improve our region’s ability to respond to drought.

Video interviews accompany each post in this series, exploring these topics in more detail.



Dealing with Drought part 4 of 5

By Bob Conrad, video interview by Bob Conrad and Chris Vega

THIS IS RENO: How unique is the TMWA water system in comparison with other western municipalities? What is similar?

kmazeres-150x150-8003366-2409863Kim Mazeres, Truckee Meadows Water Authority: We are very unique, and what makes us so are our drought planning and drought reserves. Our drought reservoirs are Donner and Independence Lakes. They are very likely the only ones in the Sierra that are full.

We also have very healthy underground drought reserves. Our groundwater supplies are also enhanced and protected each winter when TMWA injects approximately five million gallons of treated water per day through its wells into the groundwater aquifer for future drought-year use.

So, our community is very fortunate to have a robust supply system of upstream reservoirs and underground reserves available for use during dry years. Most water systems rely heavily on one or the other.

We often get asked about why we do not have a “cash for grass” program like many other desert communities – that’s paying customers to take out areas of turf. The reason TMWA hasn’t offered this program is that we have to have an income source. For most water utilities, that’s the ability to turn around and sell that water again, usually to a developer.

As a community, we made a decision following the 1990’s drought that precludes reselling saved water. Saved water is stored upstream or underground in the form of drought reserves. Thus, this decision has allowed the growth of the drought reserves we have today. And, this is a good thing, because that saved water benefits the whole water system and doesn’t fuel growth. 

Read the complete serieshttps://thisisreno.com/dealing-drought/

Source: TMWA.


Here’s more information on TMWA’s water resources: www.tmwa.com/water_system/resources/2030wrp.   For a deeper look at TMWA’s resource planning, the “2010-2030 Water Resource Plan” can be downloaded here: www.tmwa.com/water_system/resources/2030wrp. Portions of the plan, which was adopted by the TMWA Board of Directors in 2009, are incorporated into the Regional Water Management Plan, which is maintained by the Western Regional Water Commission.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.