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Landmark Truckee River Deal Closer To Reality

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  A major water agreement between California and Nevada is one step closer to reality more than three decades after it was first proposed. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey spoke with John Erwin of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority to explain the significance of the deal and how it will help in future droughts.

The Truckee River Operating Agreement will allow Nevada to better manage its waters, Erwin says.

"It firms up the allocation of the waters of the Truckee system," says Erwin. "Ninety percent of the water will come to the state of Nevada, 10 percent of the waters of the Truckee system will go to California — that is huge."

The agreement will also help during future drought cycles by allowing TMWA to store double or triple the amount of water in upstream reservoirs. 

"It allows us to reoperate the reservoirs, remanage the flows, all the while protecting and preserving all water right holders' interests and water rights," Erwin says.

A major hurdle was lifted last week when TMWA's board approved the transfer of some water rights to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, a key stakeholder in the agreement. 

Erwin says after a few more legal filings between the two states, the operating agreement should be in place by early next year. 

"It's been a long time coming," he says. "It's been decades waiting for just this event to take place." 

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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