Truckee flows cut while Tahoe nearing maximum storage behind dam

The latest flows from Tahoe (as of 7/13/17) are a mere trickle compared to the flows of the previous 5 months. Flows over the past 4 days from the Tahoe Dam have dropped each day from 300 CFS on July 10th, 200 CFS on July 11, 170 CFS on July 13, and now 70 CFS on July 14. Lake Tahoe’s water surface elevation has not risen over the past week and stands currently 1.3 inches below its legal maximum of 6,229.1 feet. Does the cut in releases into the Truckee mean the Water Master must store that last 1.3 inches of runoff behind the Tahoe Dam?

The reservoirs on the Truckee River are all now essentially full. While there is still snow in the higher elevations, the low elevation snow pack is now gone reducing the amount of runoff in creeks and streams flowing into the Truckee and Tahoe. Current storage stands as follows:

Reservoir on Truckee River

Storage July 14, 2017 acre-feet

Capacity acre-feet

Percent Full

Lake Tahoe (Water Surface Elevation in feet AMSL)




Donner Lake




Independence Lake (owned by Truckee Meadows Water Authority)




Prosser Reservoir




Stampede Reservoir




Boca Reservoir




Note: Martis Reservoir on Martis Creek, a tributary to the Truckee River, is used for flood control and currently holds 890 acre-feet due to leakage

Reservoir on Carson River Storage July 14, 2017 Acre-feet Capacity Acre-feet Percent Full

Lahontan Reservoir




Lahontan Reservoir stores water diverted from the Truckee River by the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District via the Truckee Canal and the Carson River for the Newlands Project. Since mid-January diversions have been limited due to high flows on the Carson River with current diversions going to irrigation in the Fernley area and the Fallon “bench” lands portion of the Project but not to Lahontan Reservoir.

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About Dennis Ghiglieri

My concern for the Truckee River grew over the years. It started with picking up trash and supporting better water quality. I helped create the "living river"plan with other citizens on the Community Flood Coalition; a plan to reduce flood impacts to infrastructure through river restoration and protection of the floodplain. I understand how critical the Truckee River is to the environment – and economy – of our entire region. I'm hoping that through these pages we can all understand our connection to the Truckee River and why we need to protect it.