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U.S. EPA gives $150,000 to Tahoe district to protect local drinking water EPA, Nevada co-host first-ever Tahoe drinking water forum

Release Date: 5/5/2005
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415-947-4227

     SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District of Stateline, Nevada will get $150,000 to work with Tahoe communities and local government leaders on a range of environmental issues, including protection of Lake Tahoe as a drinking water source.

     Senator John Ensign (R - NV) was instrumental in securing the funding for this grant.

     The grant funds will be used to create a position within the district that will work with local leaders on critical issues such as runoff pollution, the protection of the lake as a drinking water source and forest health.  The position will also develop a webpage focused on issues including water quality and protection of drinking water.

     "More than 54% of Lake Tahoe residents get their drinking water directly from the lake,” said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office.  "This funding will help continuing efforts to make Lake Tahoe safer and cleaner for those who live, work and play around this precious treasure."

     "Preventing environmental degradation in the Tahoe Basin has always been one of my highest priorities, so I am happy to have set aside this funding for the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District,” said Senator John Ensign.  “I am encouraged that these resources are going to be used for working with local leaders, as this cooperation is the only way to achieve our goal of saving Lake Tahoe."

     Nastri presented the grant to Dan St. John, the district's Board chairman, at the first-ever public drinking water forum, which was held today in Incline Village, Nev. The EPA, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Nevada Tahoe Water Supplier Association hosted the one-day forum to discuss protection of Lake Tahoe as a drinking water source.

     "The district truly appreciates the EPA and Senator Ensign for their support of our conservation programs," said St. John.  "This money will help us continue working to protect the many uses of the lake, including its pristine clarity and value as a source of drinking water."

     The EPA has provided more than $22 million since 1997 to promote water quality efforts in and around the lake, and has dedicated a full-time staff person to work with local officials on lake issues.  Lake Tahoe, which is more than one quarter of a mile deep, has been degraded by environmental problems that include air pollution, contaminated storm water runoff and erosion.