Sparks City Council Meeting 9/23/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, September 23, 2019 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th Street, Sparks, NV

General Business: 9.3

Title: Consideration, discussion, and possible approval of agreement (AC-5608) between the cities of Sparks and Reno, and Washoe County to manage collectively owned water rights pursuant to the Truckee River Operating Agreement.
Petitioner/Presenter: John Martini, P.E., Assistant City Manager/Kevin Porter P.E., Utility Manager
Recommendation: Staff recommends approval of the agreement.
Financial Impact: None.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is attached.
Agenda Item Brief:

The Local Government Oversight Committee (LGOC) was formed to oversee the acquisition of water rights as specified in the Water Quality Settlement Agreement (WQSA).  The LGOC has successfully completed its obligations to acquire water rights pursuant to the (WQSA) and section 1.E.4 of the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA).  This agreement formally acknowledges the termination of the LGOC and the creation of a new committee to collectively manage the storage and release schedules of the acquired water rights.     


The Truckee River WQSA, signed in 1996 by cities of Sparks and Reno, Washoe County, and the United States Department of Interior, created a purchase program to acquire $24,000,000 worth of Truckee River water rights to enhance water quality in the lower Truckee River.  It was agreed the cities of Sparks and Reno, and Washoe County would purchase a total of $12,000,000 of water rights to be jointly managed by the three entities. It was further agreed the Department of Interior would match an additional $12,000,000 of water rights to provide to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.  The intent of the overall purchase program was to improve water quality in the lower Truckee River.  The LGOC was formed to acquire the water rights for the cities of Sparks and Reno, and Washoe County.  The final water right purchases were completed in 2015.  The proofs of beneficial use were filed and the water rights were certificated in December of 2018. 

The obligations of the LGOC have been met, and the committee was intended to cease operations once the required quantity of water rights had been acquired.     


The agreement states that ” WQSA and 1.E.4 of TROA require Reno, Sparks and Washoe to manage their water, which includes storage, and to schedule releases in priority to meet water quality standards in the river from the Vista gauge to Pyramid Lake; to improve water quality in the river from Vista [Blvd] to Pyramid Lake when sufficient water is not available to meet water quality standards; to maintain aquatic and riparian habitat in the river downstream of Derby Dam; and to promote aesthetic and recreational purposes through the Reno/Sparks area and continuing to Pyramid Lake”, and requires “the WQSA water is jointly owned by Reno, Sparks and Washoe and a portion of the 1.E.4. Water is jointly owned by Reno, Sparks and Washoe; regardless, all the water is to be managed in the same manner”.

 Section 1 of the agreement defines the management of the water rights by the three parties as, “An oversight committee, consisting of three individuals with technical expertise, one each to be appointed by the Reno City Manager, the Sparks City Manager and the Washoe County Manager respectively, is hereby created and authorized to manage the water pursuant to the WQSA, 1.E.4. of TROA and the storage contract with Bureau of Reclamation and, if needed, pay any associated costs for the purpose of management and storage of the water.  The Parties, either jointly or separately, may engage an outside entity to assist in the administration of the water rights.”


1.  City Council could approve the agreement as outlined by Staff.

2.  City Council could reject the agreement and provide direction to the City Manager.

Recommended Motion:

I move to approve agreement (AC-5608) between the cities of Sparks and Reno, and Washoe County, to manage collectively owned water rights.

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