Why a Nevada water utility is looking upstream to forest management in California
Miles and miles away from Washoe County’s border with California, snowpack is starting to fall on the eastern Sierra Nevada. Over the next several months, with a few more storms, that snow will accumulate and begin to slowly melt and run off, trickling into the streams that feed the Truckee River. The Truckee River, which pours out of Lake Tahoe, winds its way through California and crosses into Nevada, where it is used as a source for water in Reno and Sparks. What happens in the forests that the Truckee cuts across has a direct effect on what happens downstream. That’s why the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the main utility for the fast-growing region, is looking upstream to reduce the risk of extreme wildfires that have, in recent years, torn through forests across the West, scarring soil, eroding streambeds and altering the water cycle.