Water Running Low for Nevada Farmers - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Water Running Low for Nevada Farmers

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After the dry winter we had, farmers in northern Nevada knew it was going to be a rough year. Now, things are getting even tighter. At the Truckee Canal, water flows are being cut, today, by 80%.

Some Fallon farmers and ranchers have already used their allotted amount of water for the year, receiving less than half of what they normally get. For some, that means half the crops.

"That's like taking your paycheck and chopping it in half," Walter Winder, Deputy District Manager of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District said.

Others have done the same, leaving their fields unplanted because of the water shortage.

"This year, instead of four (hay cuttings), I'll get maybe 2.5 because I fallowed some ground," Winder said.

The Lahontan Valley typically has nearly 4,000 acres of corn growing. This year, there's less than 500 acres. Water from the Lahontan Reservoir is expected to last until August, at best. David Stix, Jr. is a cattle rancher in the Fernley area. He says range land is also running dry.

"We don't have the drinking water for the cattle," Stix said. "The creeks, the streams, the springs are drying up."

By now, Stix's cattle would be grazing on his pasture land.  But instead, he's keeping the grasses long to keep the moisture in the ground, hoping the crops will survive until next spring.

"The biggest thing that we have to consider is - are we going to have to replant, redo the crops we've done," Stix said.

Stix gets his water from the Truckee Canal, which carries water from the Truckee River to the Lahontan Reservoir. Starting July 1, Pyramid Lake is collecting its order of water from the Truckee River. That claim takes priority over the canal.

"That makes it so that there is less water available for us at Derby Dam to divert into the Truckee Canal," Winder said.

"So far, we've been able to get all of our deliveries, but that's shortly to end," Stix said. "We'll be out of water here in a couple of weeks."

The drought has caused Stix to decrease the amount of cattle in his herd,  and that could have an impact for years. 

"That makes it really hard to try to build that herd back up, at a later day, and it will mean less income for everybody," Stix said. "For the rancher, the people working for the ranchers, and the local economy."

The situation is even more dire for farmers in Lovelock. They didn't receive any water from irrigation, this year. Officials tell us that's the first time in recorded history that's happened.
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