Our Purpose

Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID)

TCID is a political subdivision of the State of Nevada organized, and chartered in 1918 for the purpose of representing the water right holders within the boundaries of the Newlands Project in connection with the operations of the Project. The District was formed, and is paid for, by landowners within the boundaries of the Newlands Project who own water rights appurtenant to their land, which water rights the federal government is obligated, both contractually and statutorily, to serve. As a result, TCID’s first and fundamental obligation is to the farmers who are its constituents-promoting their rights and defending their interests with respect to the operations of the Newlands Project.

TCID Administration Office

“Our first and fundamental obligation is to the farmers who are our constituents — promoting their rights and defending their interests with respect to the operations of the Newlands Project.”

In 1926 TCID entered into a contract with the United States, under which the District agreed to operate and manage the Newlands Project on behalf of the federal government in operating and managing the Project.

Thus, TCID acts in a dual capacity with respect to the Newlands Project—as the duly established and elected representative of the water right owners within the Project and as an agent of the federal government in operation and management of the project. In the ordinary course of day-to-day operations, this dual role creates no conflict for TCID. From time to time, however a conflict arises. When a canal breaks or a flood occurs, TCID may find itself on the side of the federal government-defending a lawsuit filed by a landowner alleging that TCID and the United States have not properly operated or managed the Project. 

When the federal government, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, promulgates a rule or regulation, or issues an edict under those rules and regulations, which the District believes is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable or contrary to law-thus, violating the rights or impairing the interest of the project water right owners, TCID finds itself on the side of the farmers and opposed to the action of the United States. (The latter scenario has unfortunately become more and more common during the last twenty years or so, as the federal government, in league with others, has sought to constrict agricultural use of water in favor of uses that are more “politically correct.”)

In any event, this dual capacity of TCID, which is inherent in the history of the development of the Newlands Project and the creation of the District, has been well known and understood by the federal government over the years. TCID believes strongly that it never did, and does not now, form the basis for any legitimate complaint by the federal government concerning TCID’s participation in judicial proceedings involving the United States and the rights and interests of the Newlands Project water right owners.

Moreover, it is interesting (perhaps ironic) to note the context in which these complaints now arise. The current disputes involve two issues: the BOR’s directive to TCID not to deliver water during the 1993 irrigation season to lands involved in water right transfers and the BOR’s limitation on the 1993 maximum allowable diversion (MAD) for the entire Project under the 1988 Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP). In the first of these cases (the water right transfers), TCID did not “sue” the United States. On the contrary, it was the United States, and others, who took TCID into court by appealing the Nevada State Engineer’s approval of the transfers. In the second case (the MAD issue), the government’s own regulation (the OCAP) establishes the procedure for determining the annual MAD, and then provides that, “If the District does not agree with the Bureau’s decision, it may seek judicial review.” (1988 OCAP, page 12).

If the federal government has any valid complaint concerning TCID’s participation in judicial proceedings-and TCID firmly believes that it does not-then the government certainly picked the wrong cases and the wrong time to first voice that complaint.

TCID is fully cognizant of the dual capacity in which it operates with respect to the Newlands Project, and it intends to continue to balance its dual responsibilities, as outlined above. However, as also outlined above, TCID believes that its first and fundamental responsibility is to the owners of water rights within the Newlands Project, and no type or degree of attempted intimidation will cause the District to back away from that responsibility.