by Kathy Whitlow, Operations Manager

The Truckee River, flowing just over one hundred miles from Lake Tahoe and terminating in Pyramid Lake, is a microcosm of western water issues. It’s an understatement to say the Truckee River and its watershed has been rich in history and controversy…

Westward expansion in the 1840’s lead to construction of roads and trails, timber harvesting, building of the intercontinental railroad, gravel mining, ice harvesting and livestock grazing. The population continued to grow, drawn by the beauty of the region and outdoor activities. Water rights disputes have long been a part of the history of this region and continue to be a complicated issue.

In 1990, the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act was passed. Among other things, the Settlement Act achieved an interstate allocation of water resources. During the negotiation of the settlement legislation in 1990, California’s Department of Water resources gathered information on the Truckee River. In 1991, the Department published the Truckee River Atlas, providing a brief introduction to the characteristics of the river and its watershed, including the historical conditions that have resulted in today’s uses of the Truckee River. With permission, we are providing this document on our website for public reference. Click here to download or view this and many other resources on our Documents page.