Truckee River Flows Drop - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Truckee River Flows Drop

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After the record winter that saw double the amount of snowpack, the Truckee River was running fast and high into July. Now, the snow melt is slowing, and the river flows are dropping.

"As far as the river goes, it does certainly look low," Mike Cherniski, Lincoln, California resident. "This is so tame, I don't see how you can get hurt in it."

At the end of March, most of the gates were open at the Tahoe City Dam, making room for the high volume of water that was still flowing into Lake Tahoe.  Now, only one gate is opening. It is releasing 252 cubic feet per second, leaving shallow water downstream. Water is being stored at the lake, which is staying about one inch from its legal limit, meaning the inflow matches the outflow.

"They're not releasing much water into the Truckee River up at its source," Kevin Joell, Team Leader of the RFD Water Entry Team said. "So, that kind of caused our significant drop that we saw through town, here."

The Truckee River, in downtown Reno, is nearly three feet lower than it was at the end of June, which is good news for people who want to jump in.

"I was super happy to see how low it is because of the little one," Andi McCarty, Stead resident said. "You know, she's only 2 1/2. So, definitely have to have a vest on her."

"It's been perfect," Alli Reeves, Reno resident said. "It's been a lovely day and it's super nice not to have to worry about being washed away."

Joell says people should continue to use caution and good judgment along the river, but that the biggest hazards created by the snowmelt are behind us.

"We're definitely past that point," Joell said. "We're back down to normal conditions that we would see on any average summer day."

The Federal Water Master has to maintain a minimum flow in the Truckee River for things like fish habitat. If it gets below that flow or if Lake Tahoe reaches its top, more water could be released into the river. So, it is possible that river flows will fluctuate.

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