North Shore Lake Tahoe, CA — California Gavin Newsom and Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed emergency State Senate bills last week to help ease water shortages due to the record-breaking droughts in their respective states.
The approved bills state that the Truckee River Dam (Lake Tahoe’s only outlet) will release nearly ten times the average water volume out of Lake Tahoe until the states’ reservoir waters return to normal levels. Two-thirds of that Lake Tahoe water will funnel towards the Central Valley and Southern California, and the rest will flow to Reno and Pyramid Lake in Nevada.
Droughts have hit California and Nevada the hardest in past years. Nearly 40% of the state of Nevada was in extreme drought in summers past, and California had the nation’s worst drought a few years back, with 76% of the state experiencing severe drought. Governor Newsom is prepared to declare an emergency at a moment’s notice if required.
The shortage of potable water has been so severe in the past that California is now investing in long-term solutions, such as desalination plants. A facility that is scheduled to be the largest in the Western hemisphere is currently under construction in Southern California, and another desalination facility is under consideration in Orange County.
Governor Lombardo tried to reduce concerns about lowered water levels in Lake Tahoe.
“In autumn, winter, and spring, when it’s as cold as a witch’s tit in a brass brassiere,” noted Governor Lombardo, “nobody will be out on the lake anyway.” The Governor also stated that Lake Tahoe’s water levels are a renewable resource supplied each spring from the melting snowpack of 63 streams.
Governor Newsom backed Governor Lombardo with statistics from The University of California, Davis.
“No need to worry about where we are today, in the short-term. Just try to wrap your head around some numbers,” announced Governor Newsom.” Lake Tahoe has 39 trillion gallons of water. Thirty. Nine. Trillion. Gallons. That is enough water to supply everyone in the United States, man, woman, and child, with 75 gallons of water per day for five years. And we only need to tap into Tahoe until the state reservoir levels are back to normal, which we estimate to be four to twelve years from now.”
Initial reaction to the news by Tahoe locals ran the gamut of emotions. Gish Gallop asked chairlift operator and bartender Jason Munkel of Tahoma, California, for his opinion outside a Pythagorean Bogina concert in Crystal Bay, Nevada.
“Initially, I was super bummed that we were wasting all this water to keep the lawns green down in Bakersfield or wherever,” said a somewhat befuddled Mr. Munkel, “but I think we might see some of the best whitewater rapids ever on the Truckee River. I’m going kayaking with a couple of my buddies after Labor Day weekend, from Tahoe City down to Pyramid Lake, and we will record it with the new GoPro® HERO3+ cameras. Look for us on YouTube. It’s going to be sick.”