Draining Lake Tahoe to Solve Drought

North Shore Lake Tahoe, CA – California Governor Jerry Brown and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed emergency State Senate bills last week to help ease water shortages due to the record-breaking droughts in their respective states.

The approved bills state that the Truckee River Dam (Lake Tahoe’s only outlet) will release nearly 10 times the normal water volume out of Lake Tahoe until the states’ reservoir waters return back to normal levels. Two-thirds of that Lake Tahoe water will funnel towards the Central Valley and Southern California and the rest will flow to Reno and Pyramid Lake in Nevada.

continued below...

California and Nevada have been hit the hardest of any states in this years drought. Nearly 40% of the state of Nevada is in extreme drought this summer and California has the nation’s worst drought with 76% of the state experiencing extreme drought. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency earlier this year. The shortage of potable water has been so severe that California is now investing in long-term solutions, such as desalination plants. A facility that is scheduled to be the largest in the Western hemisphere is now under construction in Southern California, and another desalination facility is under consideration in Orange County.

Governor Sandoval tried to reduce concerns about lowered water levels in Lake Tahoe.

“In autumn, winter, and spring, when it’s as cold as a witch’s tit in a brass brassière,” noted Governor Sandoval, “nobody will be out on the lake anyways.”  The Governor also noted that Lake Tahoe’s water levels are a renewable resource supplied each spring from the melting snow pack of 63 streams.

Governor Brown backed Governor Sandoval with statistics from The University of California, Davis.

“No need to worry about where we are today, in the short-term. Just try to wrap your head around some numbers,” announced Governor Brown.” Lake Tahoe has 39 trillion gallons of water. Thirty. Nine. Trillion. Gallons. That is enough water to supply everyone man, woman, and child in the United States with 75 gallons of water per day for five years. And we only need to tap into Tahoe until the state reservoir levels are back to normal, which we estimate to be four to twelve years from now.”

Jason Munkel competing in a 2009 Colorado kayaking event

Jason Munkel competing in a 2009 Colorado kayaking event

Initial reaction to the news by Tahoe locals ran the gamut of emotions. The Scooper asked chairlift operator and bartender Jason Munkel, of Tahoma, California for his opinion outside a Pythagorean Bogina concert in Crystal Bay, Nevada.

“Initially, I was super bummed that we were wasting all this water to keep the lawns green down in Bakersfield or wherever,” said a somewhat befuddled Mr. Munkel, “but I think we might see some of the best whitewater rapids ever on the Truckee River. I’m going kayaking with a couple of my buddies after Labor Day weekend, from Tahoe City all the way down to Pyramid Lake, and we will record it with the new GoPro® HERO3+ cameras. Look for us on YouTube, it’s gonna be sick.”