Walker River Irrigation District will celebrate their 100th anniversary this weekend in Yerington, according to the Mason Valley News.
The district which has been in litigation with Walker River Paiute Tribe and Mineral County regarding water rights on the river as well as litigation regarding water restrictions on California water licenses will celebrate this centennial celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their office located at 410 North Main Street. The public event will feature a slide show of the history of the irrigation district, a barbecue and raffle.
Formed in April of 1919 under the Nevada Irrigation District Act “to protect property within the district from damage by floods or overflows” it covers 235,000 acres in California and Nevada as well as five counties. The Mason Valley News reports that 80,000 of those acres are irrigated by the district.
The Walker River, which feds the terminus Walker Lake, runs over 60 miles from the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California before ending at the lake.
The worst water year on record for the Walker River Irrigation District was reported as 2015 when the Walker River dried up but in 2017 the district experienced the highest flood year on record.
This year, the recorded snowpack as of April 16 is reported at 162 percent measured at selected sites. Those sites include: Leavitt Lake, Virginia Lakes Ridge; Summit Meadows; Lobdell Lake; Sonora Pass; Monitor Pass and Leavitt Meadows.
The water from this year’s snowpack will feed over 200 miles of drainage ditches in the Mason and Smith valleys to help irrigate crops. The irrigation district owns and operates both the Bridgeport Reservoir which has a capacity of 42,500-acre feet and the Topaz Reservoir which has a capacity of 60,000-acre feet. The canals and reservoirs were constructed in the 1920’s.
“We had a bunch of farmers back in the early 1900’s put the money up and create the reservoirs and create the irrigation district. Some guys actually went broke doing it,” Walker Lake Irrigation District Director Bert Bryon told the Mason Valley News.
Bryan stated, the Walker River Irrigation District is “just one unique portion of Nevada that’s not like other parts of the state. We are a very large district in the state of Nevada.”
In 2017, Walker Lake rose over 12 vertical feet. As for the litigation decision for the Walker River Paiute Tribe and Mineral County, the decision is still pending.