To enhance flows in the Carson River’s west fork, the Carson Water Subconservancy District is using its storage water rights.
Due to the ongoing drought, said Ed James of the district, habitats of fish and wildlife were impacted as summer faded and autumn began, so the strategic release of stored supplies helped mitigate such problems.
“We try to get creative,” said James, the subconservancy general manager. He said municipal water users have ground water supplies but the drought’s impact on agriculture and the environment stems from a watershed thirsting for moisture as the drought continues.
The subconservancy district is utilizing storage water rights as a supplement, which should boost flow five or six cubic feet per second. It was called a slight but needed boost. The district owns water rights in the upper watershed at Lost Lakes that are held back and used for recreation during summer months. In the autumn, they are used to augment stream flows not only for recreational, but also for environmental and municipal uses.
The district is releasing water out of Lost Lakes in Alpine County, Calif., to boost the flow in part because the Alpine Aspen Festival is taking place through Sunday in Hope Valley and Markleeville.
James said the drought has been impacting the river quite a bit. His district works with counties and others in California and Nevada along the Carson River watershed to help those needing supply meet demands and helps promote environmental stewardship. It does so with an eye toward both economic operations and scientifically sound ways.