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Posted on: March 29, 2023

High-Water Town Hall Takeaways

Carson River flowing high at McLean Road.

Officials with Churchill County, Bureau of Reclamation, TCID and the City of Fallon briefed citizens regarding the expected high water/spring thaw events facing the local community this spring and early summer, noting that while there are some similarities to what was experienced in 2017, there are also significant differences and residents need to prepare now, especially if they live along the Carson River. 

Key Takeways

  • We must prepare for flooding now
  • This is different from 2017; we are not out of the woods 
  • If you live near the river, assess and act now
  • Stay informed, be prepared and have a plan

Situation in 2017

  • Flood events in January and February fell on dry land from previous years of drought allowing for more ground absorption
  • Farmers requested water deliveries at onset of the water season
  • Early spring warmth led to a longer melting season
  • Amount of water going into Lahontan Reservoir was about 2.5 times the reservoir’s capacity
  • Lahontan was emptied twice by September and was still full that fall
  • V-line weir, culverts under Highways 95 and 50, and Big Dig channel built to direct water flow out of Lahontan and around the populated areas of Churchill County and the City of Fallon

Situation in 2023

  • Ongoing atmospheric river events continue well through March leading to saturated soil
  • Farmers not requesting water deliveries since the ground is saturated from ongoing storms
  • Temperatures have remained cold, shortening the snowmelt window resulting in more water in a shorter time period when compared to 2017
  • Readings show approximately 1.1-million-acre feet of water held in the Sierra snowpack above 6,000 feet that has yet to melt
  • Potential for filling Lahontan Reservoir three times over
  • Planning for additional mitigation efforts beyond what was done in 2017 including: continued water releases, improving the berm near Pasture Road, cutting a second weir on the V-line canal, cleaning out the Big Dig channel 

Stay Informed

Free, pre-filled sandbags available for pick-up by residents weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 12:30-2 p.m. and again on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Contact the High-Water Call Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (775)867-5923 for non-emergency inquiries regarding high water such as sandbag availability, Lahontan Reservoir levels, weather forecasts, etc. 

All current high-water information is available on the Churchill County website: (click on blue tab at top of page), City of Fallon’s website: (click on red ribbon near top of page) and TCID’s webpage at: and on Churchill County’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Photo: Carson River at McLean bridge in late March 2023.

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