FALLON — Construction continues on the canal providing water to the area’s farms and ranches. Both county officials and a construction firm are hopeful the second weir on the V-line canal will be finished early next month.
The construction is expected to help prevent downstream flooding from a heavy snowpack.
Caleb Cage, Churchill County’s incident commander, said he’s optimistic the weir will be completed in early May to remove more water from the V-line canal.
Water models studied by the Truckee Carson Irrigation District, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service indicate the Sierra Nevada snow pack holds about 1.1 million acre-feet of water.
About 68-70% will flow into the Carson River to the Lahontan Reservoir.
The Lahontan Reservoir holds 300,000 acre-feet of water. One acre-foot equals one-foot of water totaling 326,000 gallons spread over a football field.
Cage said the second weir is needed to release more water from the Lahontan Reservoir into the Carson River to avoid downstream flooding. Diversion Dam separates the water from the river to the V-line canal.
“We’ll be increasing the amount of water in the canal,” Cage added. “We’ll maintain a steady flow in both the canal and river.”
County Manager Jim Barbee said the banks on both the north and south sides of the V-line canal will also be built up.
Once the water reaches the two weirs, Cage said it will be channeled to the desert and then redirected southeast toward culverts under U.S. 95 and then to the Carson Lake pastures.
Once water flows to the other side of the highway and to Carson Lake, Cage said the “Big Dig” then moves the water in a 17-mile-long man-made ditch that’s 60 feet wide and ranges in depth from nine to 27 feet to the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.
According to Churchill County, “the second weir will be located 50 feet downstream from the first weir and be larger to accommodate an increased outflow from the current 750 cubic-feet-per-second off the V-line to 3,500 cfs.”
The cooler weather for the past two weeks has slowed the melting of the snow pack, but warmer temperatures are expected to increase snowmelt.
Ted Hughes, operating foreman and an owner of Hughes Construction, said the challenges of building the second weir are similar to the installation of the first weir in 2017.
“We’ll have a similar design but longer pile lengths,” he said.
The second weir will be about three times the size of the first, but once water enters the spillway, it will still flow into the same channel to the desert.
“We’ve brought additional equipment and almost the same crew,” Hughes added. “We’re moving quickly.”
Cage, who has made numerous visits to the site, said Hughes Construction has all the material and equipment they need. During the construction, the county has closed Casey Road east of the 26-Drop electrical plant.
The water call center telephone number is 775-867-5923, and it will be staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Barbee said there’s also a dedicated email address. [email protected]
Barbee said people should use the email address or telephone number for non-emergency calls.
- City of Fallon: www.fallonnevada.gov
- Churchill County: www.churchillcountynv.gov
- Truckee River Operating Agreement (water reports): www.troa.net
- Lahontan Valley News: nevadaappeal.com