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An image of a firefighter with a chainsaw cutting down debris.
Joe Bradshaw / Bureau of Land Management

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

An image of a sensor on a pipe.
Courtesy of Halogen Systems for NNBW

Here's the latest business news from around Northern Nevada, with Business Beat from the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a complicated groundwater case that could have implications for the Mountain West.

The case involves Mississippi alleging that Tennessee is unlawfully taking water from an aquifer that runs beneath both states. It’s also seeking $600 million in damages.

An image of people exploring new apartment complexes.
Courtesy / Placer County

Here are the local news headlines for Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

A side profile of Sisolak and Newsom as they walk by and look at a home that’s been reduced to rubble by a wildfire. A hill behind them is covered with charred juniper trees.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.

Hay stacks rolled and left throughout an open field. There is a tractor in the background, as well as several hills covered by foliage and trees.
Jürgen / Flickr Creative Commons

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

An aerial image of Thacker Pass. A large, desert-like landscape with some hills and a paved road.
Courtesy / Bureau of Land Management

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, July 30, 2021.

An image of a mountain slope with a receding snow line.
Nathan Anderson / Unsplash

In much of the West, snowpack levels have historically been one of the more reliable ways to determine whether a drought was coming. But a new study says climate change could soon make snowpack data much less reliable.

ThisisReno.com

The City of Reno has given tentative approval to a project that would create a pipeline of treated effluent to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center which houses companies like Tesla and Switch. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke to our contributor Bob Conrad if ThisisReno to learn more.

The water is needed for Switch, Tesla and other businesses at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRIC).

Switch brought heavy-hitter “water czar” Pat Mulroy, formerly of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to testify for the agreement, which mostly met with favor among council members.

Patrick Nouhailler / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Research by the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that rising temperatures are causing snow to melt earlier in the year, and that's not good news.

The Truckee Meadows depends on runoff from snowmelt to fill its reservoirs and streams for drinking, agriculture and recreation.

Rising temperatures are causing snow to melt earlier in the year, when days are shorter and there’s less sunlight to melt the snow. This slows down the process, which means evaporation increases and less water makes it to regional reservoirs.

Scott Tyler, PhD, UNR Foundation Professor of Geological Sciences and Engineering
UNR

Fiber optic cable usually brings to mind rapid telecommunications and data transfer. The high-tech, hair-breadth cable has also become a critical environmental device being used by a researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno. It helps measure the water temperatures in Lake Tahoe, European glaciers and Cambodia's waterways. Even controlled burns in Arizona have benefited from soil temp measurements using this technology.  

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking for input on its water resource plan, as the agency looks to how best manage the region's critical water supply. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has the details.

Every five years, TMWA looks into its crystal ball to review and revise its twenty-year water resource plan. 

John Erwin is director of natural resources at the authority. He says when the snowpack is as low as it was last year, that can make things especially tough.

Esther Ciammachilli

Businesses and real estate around the Sparks Marina took a hard hit after the recession and both have been slow to regain momentum. That, together with some high-profile ecological issues, has left many in the area with mixed perceptions about the health and vitality of this lake community. For our series, Beyond Tahoe: Exploring Our Waterways, Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli reports.

Lisa G. is known as the Mayor of the Sparks Marina. She’s the owner of Marina Paddle Fit, one of the only businesses currently open there. Lisa takes great pride in this lake.

Julia Ritchey

For the first time in state history, Nevada water officials are preparing to restrict groundwater pumping for the Smith and Mason valleys. Farmers and ranchers there are already operating on thin margins because of the drought. Our reporter Julia Ritchey visited the agricultural community of Yerington to see how one farmer is coping.

"We'll start here; it's as a good as anywhere. You'll be able to see, like mine,  I have fields that have nothing growing just basically weeds because of no water... It’s basically fallowed because you can’t irrigate it."

Julia Ritchey

  Water conservation dipped last month, according to new numbers from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the reduction fell just shy of their goal.

Residents reduced their water usage by nine percent last month. That's a little short of the utility's voluntary reduction target of 10 percent — and the first month since May that customers didn't exceed TMWA’s goal.

Bill Hauck is a senior hydrologist at the authority. He says even after the hot, dry months are over, users should continue to cut back.

Reno Public Radio

The rain coupled with customer response to the drought in northern Nevada has led to good news for the water supply. 

 

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority reports water production for May was 19 percent lower than the same month in 2013. That equals approximately half a billion gallons in saved water.  

Alexa Ard

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking customers to voluntarily cut their water usage by ten percent. To figure out how to actually do that, we reached out to local experts who offered these tips:

Tip #1: Monitor and adjust your irrigation system

People use four times more water in the summer to irrigate their lawns. Here's Master Gardener Wendy Hanson-Mazet from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension with a tip on how to cut back on that amount.

Tip #2: Use mulch

Many farmers in and around Yerington are being ordered to cut their water usage in half this growing season.  

As far as State Engineer Jason King knows, this is the first time they've ever told farmers to stop pumping groundwater.

"What we are seeing in these two particular basins, Smith and Mason Valley, are just unprecedented water declines. They're the steepest on record."

Chuck Schlarb

 A battle over water is brewing on the parched earth of the Black Rock Desert. An effort to transport water from Humboldt County more than 100 miles south has residents and ranchers alarmed. 

Chuck Giordano grows alfalfa on the outskirts of the Black Rock Desert in a place appropriately known as Desert Valley. But don’t let the name fool you. When it comes to water, he’s lucky.

“We have a fairly good reserve of water underneath us because our water table, even with the drought, has hardly dropped any.”