News Feature | April 29, 2014

Nevada River Basin Drying Up

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

California is not the only state struggling with extreme drought conditions. 

The dry spell is so bad in Nevada that the federal watermaster Jim Shaw recently remarked, "I hope to God I never see another year like this as long as I'm around," the Reno Gazette-Journal reported

Nevada's drought amounts to "a tragedy unfolding in slow motion," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Its effects will be far reaching — from rural communities that depend on ranching and agriculture for their existence to the prices we all pay for food at the grocery store," the report said. 

The Walker River Basin is among the struggling areas. The basin, over 60 miles long, sits southeast of Reno. 

"The Walker River Basin's outlook is better than 30 days ago, but not significantly so," the Reno Gazette-Journal reported, citing Shaw.

Delivering a report to the local irrigation district, Shaw explained that "the river's streamflows still are expected to be way below average, and Shaw is expecting the irrigation season to be a short one," the piece said. 

"Shaw said stream flows on the East Walker River are projected to be 28 percent of average, with about 19,000 acre-feet of total runoff," the report said.

California gets the most attention, but drought is afflicting a handful of states this year. "Parts of Texas, Nevada and to a lesser extent Oklahoma and Colorado face exactly the same levels of exceptional drought [as California]," 24/7 Wall Street reported.

Federal aid has been made available for Nevada ranchers struggling during the dry spell, the Journal-Gazette reported in a separate piece

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 82 percent of the state is afflicted with severe drought. 

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