Water Policy Change, Implications for Pyramid Lake

by John W. Fordham, (M.ASCE), Univ and Community Coll System of, Nevada, Reno, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Policy and Management: Solving the Problems


Pyramid Lake is part of and is surrounded by the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. The river system has been administered by a Federal water master serving the Federal court system with the operation guided by several court decrees and agreements defining diversion and reservoir operations for the river. Beginning in the early 70s there were a number of lawsuits filed, primarily by the United States Department of Justice, on behalf of the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe, to change the river's operation to provide water for Pyramid Lake and its fisheries, uses which had not been considered when the original court decrees were implemented. These suits sought to provide additional waters of sufficient quantity and quality to help stabilize the level of the lake and to ensure the survival of its threatened and endangered fish species. The suits which have exceeded 30 in number have, for the most part, been resolved over the past 20 years and have resulted in some changes in water management for the system, as well as a generally broadened view to include the needs of all parties. Inclusion of environmental demands as well as increasing urban demands and traditional agricultural demands has resulted in increased competition for the limited resource. To satisfy there demands, parties are seriously negotiating for changes in river operations.

Subject Headings: Lakes | Water policy | Water resources | Water management | High-rise buildings | Water supply | Federal government | Fish and fishery management

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