Drought Prompts Irrigation Water Cuts in Fallon - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Drought Prompts Irrigation Water Cuts in Fallon

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The drought this year is prompting the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District to cut back on water allotments to farmers by more than half. Now water allotments for Fallon farmers will drop down to only 45%.  It's a costly gamble because some will lose more than 50% of their crops.

For farmers like Rick Lattin, money lost this year could be huge.

Rick's family has been farming in Fallon for over 100 years. This year he's working around the drought. He's already started the process to farm  with less water the mitigate the drought.

Today the field crew is planting and covering tomatoes.

"We've converted to what's called drip irrigation, which is low volume irrigation that applies water directly to the plant."

This isn't the first time there's been a very dry season. "In 1922 it was like 20%."

"The reason we didn't take action at our board meeting on Wednesday is because it had been left off the agenda."

Now the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District board plans to vote in a special meeting next week to pull back the amount of water allowed for farmers from 50% to 45%. They need to do this in order to be able to fill late-season water orders for fish and wildlife at Lahontan Reservoir and other Fallon-area wetlands.

"The fish and wildlife people came to us and they said 'if you save our water until later in the season, we'll take a further discount.' So they'll actually get 45% minus seven."

As for Rick, to make up for crops he'll lose he plans to increase planting on other crops that use less water, like tomatoes. And just even though there's a drought, Rick says he still plans on having plenty of food to sell this summer.

"The USDA has some disaster loan assistance where they give low interest loans to help the farmers make it through these drought years...We're a whole community in western Nevada and one of the things you can do to support the farms through the dry period is buy local."

The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District plans to vote on Tuesday to drop the water allotment down to 45%. They wanted to get the word out to farmers earlier so they could start cutting back on water use.

Farmers who have already used up their 45% will not be allowed to order more water.

Written by Chloe Beardsley
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