Dealing With Drought

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

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:

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

CLARIFICATION (July 21, 2014): What is happening now: Water from Lake Tahoe and Boca Reservoir ensures federally mandated Truckee River flow rates of 500 cubic feet per second. That is the water in the Truckee River right now. When mandated rates can no longer be sustained, and water from Tahoe and Boca is depleted, TMWA will use its drought reserves from Donner and Independence Lakes to meet customer demand.  This is projected to happen around the first of August. At that time, the only flows possibly in the river will be TMWA’s drought reserves. This is the time when conservation counts, and the water customers save can be used for next year.  All customers will be asked to reduce outdoor water usage by 10 percent.

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