Dry winter means low water levels | TheUnion.com

Dry winter means low water levels

After a dry winter, lake levels in the Truckee-Tahoe area will be dipping by the end of the summer.

Balancing the water needs downstream with the lake levels at Tahoe, Boca, Stampede, Prosser, and Donner lakes, officials are already letting water out of local dams to maintain a minimum flow on the Truckee River.

Combined with evaporation, the discharge has already outstripped the inflow from streams and snowmelt.

“Tahoe can carry us for a couple of years, but Prosser will get pretty low and Boca will get down near its minimum,” said Chief Hydrologist Chad Blanchard with the U.S. District Court Water Masters Office.

The required outflow from Tahoe, Prosser, and Boca is used to maintain the minimum “Floriston Rate,” which is 500 cubic feet of water per second in the Truckee River below the Town of Truckee and near Floriston, he said.

Currently, the Truckee River is flowing at 100 cfs, meaning Tahoe, Prosser, and Boca have to make up the missing 400 cfs, he said.

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