The City of Reno’s Public Works Director, John Flansberg, today said the city’s efforts to reduce Swan Lake’s water levels in Lemmon Valley have been successful.
A pipeline pumping water from the lake has reduced the lake’s levels by 1.1 feet, and alfalfa is being grown from Swan Lake water in North Valleys fields.
“We are definitely seeing a drop due to the Swan Lake…dewatering project that we put into place and has been active through this agricultural season,” Flansberg said. “Comparing quick numbers [between] Swan and Silver Lake, you see that Swan Lake has gone down further.”
The lake peaked in April 2019 and evaporation caused much of the lake’s drop since that time, but the city is calling its dewatering project a success.
Flansberg said water will be pulled from the lake until it hits about 3.5 feet of water.
The farming component saw its first cutting of hay this year and expects two more.
“I would say it’s been very successful,” Flansberg added.
The lake saw repeat flooding, causing housing to become uninhabitable in Lemmon Valley, as well as litigation by residents against the city. A jury found last year the city was liable for taking property. City of Reno spokesperson Jon Humbert said the case is going back to court in January on appeal.
In August of last year, the Reno City Council authorized the dewatering project.
The project is a government partnership. Washoe County owns the land; the airport is needed to grant permission to use the land, but the City of Reno needs the property to pipe the effluent.
UPDATE: This story was updated to include the status of litigation which was provided after publication.