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Energy and Environment

Measuring Our Water A Top Concern At Drought Summit

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The state's drought summit wrapped up Wednesday after three days of in-depth presentations from every type of water stakeholder in Nevada. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

There was a lot of talk in Carson City this week about how to better manage, save, share, and measure our water. 

"Measurement was a big topic," said Lewis Michaelson, the summit's facilitator, while offering his closing remarks on the event," both in terms of the meteorological data, but there are all these questions about: How much water is there? Are we measuring it right? Of the water that's used, how much of it is consumptive and how much of it is recycled back? How efficiently is water used? Can we measure that? Or how much value does that water use produce?"

The event featured panel discussions on everything from water law in Nevada to the drought's effects on agriculture, tourism, and the environment. All of that information is being handed off to Governor Brian Sandoval's drought forum, which will use it to make recommendations by the end of this year.

One big announcement at this week's event came from Mark Foree, the general manager of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority who confirmed that the region will not need to tap into its drought reserve at Independence Lake:

"It's our largest and our best drought reserve. It holds over 17,000 acre-feet, and if we can save our largest reserve for next year, that's a big deal."

The water authority hasn't tapped Independence Lake in more than 20 years. Foree says voluntary conservation staved off its use this year; although, they did start using other upstream reserves back in June.

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