News Release Archive

Truckee River Operating Agreement Implementation to Provide Multiple Benefits for California and Nevada

Media Contact: Shane Hunt, 916-978-5100, shunt@usbr.gov

For Release: January 05, 2016

RENO, Nev. – The Bureau of Reclamation, representing the U.S. Department of the Interior, is pleased to announce that implementation of the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA) begins this month after 26 years of negotiations, environmental studies, regulatory actions and court proceedings.

TROA resolves decades-long water disputes over the operation of Truckee River reservoirs, and in the Truckee and Carson River basins. With TROA’s implementation, interstate water allocations will take effect between California and Nevada in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee River, and Carson River basins. TROA will enhance conditions for the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and endangered cui-ui in the Truckee River basin, increase municipal and industrial drought supply for the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, improve Truckee River water quality downstream from Sparks and enhance stream flows and recreational opportunities in the Truckee River Basin.

TROA is intended to increase the operational flexibility and efficiency of reservoirs in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins, thus providing multiple environmental benefits while protecting the exercise of existing water rights. TROA is able to do this because of two key elements that differentiate it from current operations – the ability of a water right holder to store water that would otherwise have been released from storage or passed through the reservoir to serve a downstream water right, and the ability to exchange water between Truckee River reservoirs. The signatory parties are allowed to retain the consumptive use portion of the water are entitled to divert in Truckee River reservoirs as credit water in lieu of diversion. Under TROA, a portion of credit waters not needed for the primary purpose for which they were stored can then be used for the benefit of water quality in the lower Truckee River, and for Pyramid Lake and its fishery. Credit water can also be exchanged with water stored in other Truckee River reservoirs without necessarily being physically moved between reservoirs. These key elements are at the core of TROA.

This major achievement is being recognized during a press conference in Reno Jan. 5, 2016, led by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and representatives of the five major TROA signatories: the U.S. Department of the Interior, the states of California and Nevada, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

Conflicts over the waters of the Truckee River triggered decades of effort to reach agreement. The 1990 Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act (Settlement Act) established the basis for TROA, which was formally signed in 2008 by the five key signatories listed above, as well as, the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District, Washoe County Water Conservation District, city of Reno, city of Sparks, city of Fernley, Washoe County, Sierra Valley Mutual Water Company, Truckee-Donner Public Utility District, Placer County Water Agency, and North Tahoe Public Utility District. In addition to these key organizations, TROA was made possible through the cooperation and coordination of numerous other federal, state and local agencies and groups.

For additional information, please contact Terri Edwards, Lahontan Basin Area Office Area Manager, at 775-884-8344 (TTY 800-877-8339) or tedwards@usbr.gov.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.