TCID voters overwhelmingly approve 1-year shutdown of canal and repayment contract for relining project

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Truckee-Carson Irrigation District water right holders gave an emphatic go-ahead for the project to line a portion of the TCID canal through Fernley.

Water users within the TCID voted 1,886 in favor against 168 opposed to affirm the $35 million repayment contract between TCID and the Bureau of Reclamation for the Truckee Canal Extraordinary Maintenance project scheduled to begin construction in October, and the authorize shutting down the canal during the one-year construction project.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October, but an appeal of a lawsuit by the City of Fernley to stop the project is still pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The City of Fernley claims lining the canal will deplete its groundwater supply, which is recharged from seepage through the bottom of the canal, causing residential wells to go dry. A U.S. District Court judge dismissed Fernley’s lawsuit, and also a petition to amend and refile the suit.

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The project is to line a 3.5 mile stretch of the canal through Fernley that is deemed as the most risk-prone for a breach. In January of 2008, 590 homes in Fernley were flooded when the canal breached, resulting in an $18 million settlement to victims. That breach was attributed to rodents burrowing into the side of the canal.

If the vote had failed, the BOR would permanently reduce flows in the Truckee Canal from 500 cubic feet per second to 140 cfs.

In the Truckee Division (Fernley) the vote was 29 Yes and 123 No, while in the Carson Division (Fallon) it was 1,857 Yes and 45 No.

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