|Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne joined U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid; Chairman Mervin Wright, Jr. of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians; and other federal, state and local dignitaries at a signing ceremony on Saturday for the Truckee River Operating Agreement, at Wingfield Park on the river. Hi-Res|
RENO, NV -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today joined U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid; Chairman Mervin Wright, Jr. of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians; and other federal, state and local dignitaries at a signing ceremony for the Truckee River Operating Agreement, at Wingfield Park on the river.
“We have traveled a long road to reach this day. The Truckee Riverhas been the subject of conflict and litigation for the past 100 years,” Kempthorne said. “For the past 18 years, we have worked to come up with an agreement that is the keystone of the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act, which Senator Reid so skillfully shepherded through Congress in 1990. The journey has not been easy, but we made it.”
In addition to the Department of the Interior and the tribe, those signing the agreement before an audience of more than 400 included the Department of Justice, the States of California and Nevada, and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. Those participating included Assistant Attorney General Ronald Tenpas of the Justice Department; Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman of the State of California; Director Allen Biaggi of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Chairman Mike Carrigan, Board of Directors, Truckee Meadows Water Authority.
The agreement is the fulfillment of the requirements of the 1990 Settlement Act for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, sponsored by Sen. Reid, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate an operating agreement
for the major federal and private reservoirs on the TruckeeRiverupstream of Reno.
“The TruckeeRiveris the primary source of water for the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and for the growing communities of Renoand Sparks,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “We now have an agreement that benefits all who depend on the river for water and ensures that the people of the states of California and Nevada can move forward with certainty to a more prosperous future…. this day is part of a new day in the West. A day when step by step, agreement by agreement, we resolve old and bitter water disputes in a new spirit of cooperation and partnership.”
The Truckee River Operating Agreement removes no water rights and benefits all users by ensuring efficient coordination of the operation of the reservoirs for the purposes of storage, release, and exchange of water.
All unappropriated water goes to the tribe—hundreds of thousands of acre feet per year, depending on snow pack. The agreement also provides storage space in the reservoirs to increase municipal drought supplies for Renoand Sparks, benefits instream flows for fishery and water quality purposes, and enhances reservoir levels for recreation use.