RENO (CN) – More than 100 flood victims want to stop officials from resuming normal water flows through the Truckee Canal on Saturday, four months after the canal flooded hundreds of homes in Fernley, Nev.
The Bureau of Reclamation announced in late April that it would nearly double the canal’s water flow beginning May 10, reversing an earlier decision to keep levels down until repairs were made, the federal lawsuit states.
Although some repairs have been completed since the flood, much of the canal is “known to have unstable banks made of materials not capable of carrying water,” the complaint states.
The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District allowed a “dangerously high quantity of water” to flow through the canal on Jan. 5 in an attempt to “maximize the recovery of the water storage in the Lahontan Reservoir” after years of drought, the complaint states.
The banks of the century-old canal swelled, sending polluted water through 600 homes in Fernley, about 30 miles east of Reno. Fernley residents say the agency then eight hours to stop the flow of water after learning of the flood.
The agency failed to maintain the canal by allowing 8 feet of sand to collect at its bottom, reducing its capacity, according to the complaint.
Plaintiffs say the flood destroyed their property, and that they’re suffering an outgrowth of cancer-causing molds and other toxins.
Plaintiffs want to inspect the canal and be consulted before its flows are increased again. They are represented by Robert Hager with Hager & Heame.