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Reno Taps Drought Reserves

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is now using drought reserves to meet customer demand.

Usually, surface water from the Truckee River provides 90 percent of what area customers use, but since river flows are so low, the authority has now tapped into its upstream drought reserves in Boca Reservoir. 

"We actually anticipated being in this position several weeks ago," says Bill Hauck, senior hydrologist for the agency, "but the rain we had in May brought a significant amount of rainfall which found its way to the river. It basically enhanced our supply by several weeks."

The authority also tapped these reserves last year, after two decades of not needing them. As the drought intensifies over the summer, TMWA is still asking customers to conserve at least ten percent of the water they would normally use because any amount saved can be used in the future. They're also encouraging people to report water waste, and those calls are coming in.

"People are policing their neighborhoods," Hauck says, "and turning in their neighbors."

Often, waste is unintentional and can be remedied with small changes, like replacing a broken sprinkler head or adjusting an irrigation timer. 

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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