Governor's Drought Summit Begins in Carson City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Governor's Drought Summit Begins in Carson City

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A variety of people are gathered in Carson City to discuss the impacts of the ongoing drought and to look into possible ways to improve water conservation in the Silver State. In April, Governor Brian Sandoval signed an executive order to create the Drought Forum. Stakeholders are meeting for the next three days, as part of the forum.

"I'm not a water expert, I'm not a scientist but we've brought the best minds here to find those solutions and they're going to make those recommendations," Sandoval (R), Nevada said.

Farmers and ranchers are meeting with water purveyors, climatologists, and scientists to look at the impacts of four years of drought, as well as reducing those impacts in the future. 

"I'm an eternal optimist," Sandoval said. "So, I'm hoping for the best but the point of this forum is to prepare for the worst."

"It falls in all sectors, water purveyors, agriculture have been doing it for a long time because we live in a desert, but there is also areas that we can improve upon." Leo Drozdoff, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said.

Drozdoff says the summit is an opportunity to learn from other people's experiences, including issues that some sectors face, that others don't. 

Urban and rural areas also face vastly different challenges. Many water conservation issues will be discussed, including additional storage capacity, increasing re-use efforts, overcoming homeowners association restrictions, and modernizing some of Nevada's laws.

"There's requirements that exist, today, that were probably well-intentioned at the time but certainly stand a closer look," Drozdoff said.

Nevada is the driest state in the country and Sandoval says that is why the Silver State is already a model of water conservation. He says that should continue to be practiced whether the state has a wet or dry winter.

"I think, actually, we're way ahead of the curve and I just want to make sure that we're doing the best that we can possibly do when it comes to water conservation," Sandoval said.

During Sandoval's opening remarks, he talked about how dry Nevada's rivers, lakes and reservoirs have become and the impact that is having in many economic sectors. He says the drought has taken its toll on tourism, with below-average snowpack at ski resorts. That lack of snow has left farmers and ranchers with little to no water.

"We have to think about Nevada's economic well-being, the health of our citizenry and the livability of our diverse neighborhoods," Sandoval said. "That's what demands the full attention of this forum."

While the governor says there may disagreements from the different groups of people, it's in Nevada's best interest to come up with the best possible solutions. "I don't know if you're all friends or not, but we're gonna make you work together and talk together and encourage you to invest in a shared understanding of current conditions and predictions."

Sandoval plans to use this forum to put forth drought recommendations at the end of this year.

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