The Nevada Irrigation District is continuing to emphasize the need for water conservation, but it appears NID water users may avoid mandatory water use restrictions this year.
NID Water Operations Manager Chip Close said the rain and snow of February and early March has boosted NID water storage to levels that should allow for a normal start of the irrigation season.
On Apr. 9, the NID board may be asked to declare Stage II of the district’s Drought Contingency Plan. which targets a 10 -15 percent water savings. District water managers are hopeful that the targeted savings can be achieved through voluntary actions of customers.
Close said the water supply will be carefully monitored as the season progresses and if adequate savings are not being achieved and the minimum carryover storage cannot be met, mandatory actions may become necessary.
To maximize water availability for district customers, Close said NID would purchase additional water from PG&E. The district is currently reviewing a plan to implement a water rate for customers that would help cover NID’s actual costs of purchasing water.
KNCO news asked Accuweather Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark to review the significance of California’s current drought and what he sees for next winter.
Clark says right now we are not in an El Nino but they are seeing a significant warming of the waters in the central Pacific that is moving eastward and should move into the eastern Pacific equatorial region as it goes through the next several months.
With very little precipitation through much of the early winter, NID has been actively planning for dry year conditions. The water shortage has eased in recent weeks thanks to a wetter than average February and early March, however, seasonal precipitation remains well below average for this time of year. As of Mar. 10, NID had measured 35.15 inches of precipitation at Bowman Reservoir, which is 67 percent of average for the date.
NID reservoir storage reached 186,518 as of Mar. 10, which is 106 percent of average for the date and 75 percent of capacity. Runoff from this year’s snowpack is now estimated at just 35 percent of average.
In more developments from NID
Day use and boat launch fees at Rollins and Scotts Flat reservoirs will increase under a 2014 fee schedule approved Wednesday (Mar. 12) by the Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors.
The day use vehicle entry fee, which includes up to four people, was increased from $6.50 to $8 while the day use/boat launch fee was increased from $13 to $15. The walk-in rate remains at $1.50. The fees have not been adjusted in five years.
NID Recreation Manager Peggy Davidson said even with the increases, NID recreation rates compare very favorably with others in the region.
She said the increases will help the district pay for its Quagga Mussel inspections, materials and signage, and also for improvements in the day use and boat launch facilities at all of NID’s facilities.