1 million gallons of water lost to NID, returned to Wolf Creek | TheUnion.com

1 million gallons of water lost to NID, returned to Wolf Creek

The Nevada Irrigation District lost nearly 1 million gallons of raw, untreated water back into Wolf Creek Sunday morning.

According to Public Information Officer Tomi Riley, the district learned that the Tarr Ditch, an irrigation canal used to transport raw water for 115 customers in the Penn Valley and Wolf Mountain area, was going dry around 7 a.m. Sunday.

Riley said upon investigation, an operator found damage to a spill structure used to uptake water along the canal.

“We definitely had vandalism at Tarr Ditch, which caused the water to go out from intake back into the creek,” Riley said.

Riley said the district currently categorizes the incident as vandalism as opposed to water theft, although 1 million gallons of water was “lost” over the four hours between learning about the damage and repairing it.

“We lost about 1 million gallons,” Riley said. “Instead of going into our intake to provide water to the irrigation canal, (the water) went down the creek.”

The structure that was damaged allows the district to pull water from the creek and send it up canals. Riley said the million-gallon amount was determined by the rate of the water flow and the time it took to repair the damage.

“We were notified at 7 a.m. and we were able to fix it by 11 a.m.,” Riley said.

Riley said although the district lost the water, it was not necessarily wasted.

“It’s not lost to the environment, it’s lost to us for our use,” Riley explained.

Riley said the 115 agricultural customers had either a low amount or no water during a portion of the day on Sunday.

NID has not had to deal with vandalism and damage to its infrastructure before. The district is investigating the incident but did not specify whether the Sheriff’s Office was involved, Riley said.

“Internally, there’s an investigation to understand what happened and what we can do to prevent it in the future,” Riley added.

Riley said NID oversees 500 miles of canal, so cameras used to keep watch are positioned at specific areas of interest.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

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