Fallon digs out of flooding disaster with 17-mile canal

An excavator transports the dirt wall to allow water from the Carson River to flow to Carson Sink. The channel is designed to prevent the City of Fallon and Churchill County residents from flooding when the snow melts.

The city of Fallon, Churchill County, and Nevada emergency officials joined forces to build a 17-mile man-made canal to prevent a disastrous flood.

The trench will take water from Carson Lake to Carson Sink. It's an effort to relieve the Carson River, while also preventing future flooding for when the snow melts, bypassing the runoff.

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The project took six weeks, 10 large excavators, two bulldozers, eight tractor/scrapers, two blades and more than 20,000 hours of manpower to move 2.5 million cubic yards of dirt.

Truckee-Carson Irrigation District president Ernest Schank said, "The (Carson) river is going to run high for another month or six weeks. So we're going to have to, as a community, get along with it the best we can."

Concerned residents can pick up sandbags at any time at the Churchill County Fairgrounds, located at 325 Sheckler Road.

U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei said the project can serve as a blueprint for other Nevada communities also concerned with flooding.

Amodei said, "I think it invites those local folks and state folks and federal folks and other adjudication in Nevada that goes 'Are there any lessons learned there that we could put in our community?'"

The project was estimated to cost $11 million, but was completed at $1 million.

The canal is predicted to serve the area for decades to come.

For additional information, contact the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week, at 775-423-4177.

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