After over 20 years of complex negotiations, community and regional leaders finalized the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA) in 2015. It cannot be overstated how important the agreement was and continues to be, particularly during dry years like this. During drought, TROA changes how upstream storage is managed. It allows TMWA to store more Truckee River water in federal reservoirs. When paired with our reserves at Independence and Donner Lakes, TMWA is substantially more resilient against the effects of drought. If drought continues, stored water can carry over into succeeding years to increase our reserves even more—an option that was not possible prior to TROA.
When the Truckee River no longer meets the minimum flow rate required by TROA, drought reserves may be used to supplement our water supply. Use of drought reserves has happened only five times over the past 35 years. The advantage of TROA is clear when one compares current drought storage levels to those of 2015: