Last Friday we took a tour of the Reno water system that was offered by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA). TMWA has been offering this free tour annually for the last few years. We started at the TMWA headquarters. From there we went to the Lake Tahoe Dam in Tahoe City where the Truckee River Exits the lake. The picture below shows that two of the 17 gates at the dam were open when we were there. From Tahoe we went to Donner Lake, Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir. We had a tour and a picnic lunch at the Verdi Hydro-power Plant and finally a tour of the Chalk Bluff Water Treatment Plant.
The top 6.1 feet of water between the natural rim and the highest elevation of Lake Tahoe is the primary water storage for Reno but the water authority also gets water from reservoirs and wells. It was fascinating to learn how the water is shared and how they plan for droughts and growth. The hydroelectric facilities that are owned by TMWA provide something like half the power the utility uses. The Verdi Hydroelectric Plant we toured was recently upgraded. The pictures below show the old control panel and the new control panel.
I was very impressed with the whole system. Our tour guide Andy was entertaining and very knowledgeable. TMWA has a great web site and a real time interactive graphic about Lake Tahoe and its elevations.