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Drought Prompts Reno Water Authority to Call for Conservation

GRAPHIC: Residents in northern Nevada are being asked to conserve water as the ongoing drought continues to wreak havoc on municipal water supplies. Photo courtesy of the California Department of General Services.
GRAPHIC: Residents in northern Nevada are being asked to conserve water as the ongoing drought continues to wreak havoc on municipal water supplies. Photo courtesy of the California Department of General Services.
July 29, 2014

RENO, Nev. - The severity of Nevada's ongoing drought has prompted the Truckee Meadows Water Authority to call upon its thousands of customers in Reno, Sparks and Washoe counties to conserve water.

Mark Foree, general manager of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, says the lack of water has forced his agency to tap its emergency "drought reserves" water supply for the first time in 20 years.

"We're really focusing on outdoor irrigation, and the reason is during this time of year three times more water is used outdoors than indoors," says Foree. "So that's why we're really focusing on outdoor water use."

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking its 94,000 customers to reduce outdoor irrigation by at least 10 percent, and to avoid watering between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Foree says cutting back on outdoor watering should be simple since most irrigation systems have timers which can be adjusted.

Foree adds the water authority is requesting "voluntary" water conservation since its customers have a history of complying with previous water saving efforts during periods of drought.

"This community has always pitched in when we've asked," says Foree. "It's been a long time since we've had to ask, but 20 years ago when we asked for conservation, we got the conservation we were looking for."

Foree says about 90 percent of the Reno-Sparks water supply comes from Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River system. He hopes a heavy snowfall this winter will help restore water levels, but if not, he warns water conservation efforts will likely intensify.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV