Churchill County Opens Emergency Spillway to Mitigate Flooding
The V-line emergency spillway is now open releasing water from Lahontan Reservoir, in an effort to mitigate flooding in Churchill County.
Crews with the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District are working to draw down the Lahontan Reservoir's water levels, in anticipation of the runoff that's expected to come from the Sierra Nevada in 2017.
The solution is a project called the V-line emergency spillway. The spillway redirects water released from the Lahontan Reservoir, in an effort to mitigate flooding in Churchill County.
The $600,000 construction project is already running water through the man-made spillway and doing so at an alarming rate.
The project manager, Rusty Jardine, says the water is so fast it’s dangerous to approach.
“You're seeing about 1000 CFS in this spillway,” says Jardine.
Once the excess water enters the spillway it then courses across an open terrain desert through the Lahontan Valley. The diverted water mitigates flooding in Churchill County while also benefiting the desert.
"Restore some grazing areas and of course that water provides a massive amount of recharge to our aquifer, here in this entire region," says Jardine.
Jardine says the TCID and city of Fallon are ahead of the game by creating this spillway, especially because they did it so quick.
He says now it's up to Mother Nature to cooperate, so crews can manage the water levels in the Lahontan Reservoir throughout the spring and summer seasons.
“It'd be nice if we could see that runoff come in a slow and steady process, instead of all at once,” says Jardine.
Lahontan's current water levels are just above 230,000 acre feet, the goal is to bring that number down at least another 100,000 acre feet.
The City of Fallon will post daily water levels of Lahontan on Facebook and FallonNevada.gov. This includes inflow, outflow and the current level of the lake.