TAHOE CITY (CBS13) — The Truckee River is forcing rafting companies to close, not because the river is raging but because the water is running too low.
Many people in Tahoe City are left disappointed with canceled reservations.
“It was brutal because we had promised them a day on the river, we raft there all the time, ” said Mitchell Walman visiting from Los Angeles.
Walman and his family are among the dozens being turned away after two Truckee rafting companies had to temporarily close.
“It’s very disappointing you know we came in with our family that came specifically in from Brussels for a Tahoe trip that we come annually, and we were so disappointed we didn’t have the rafts,” said Michelle Walman.
Aaron Rudnick with Truckee River Raft Company says first the river was closed to rafting due to high water levels and now this. He says his business is taking a big hit.
“We normally have 80 employees, it’s a lot of summer jobs, people that can’t work,” said Rudnick.
Forced to cancel more than 50 reservations, Rudnick says Lake Tahoe may be full, but the issue is tied to the regulations with the Lake’s dam releases.
“With so much water being let out in the last six weeks to make room for snow melt, that’s kept everyone in Nevada and the rights holders pretty well hydrated, so without a demand for water on their side, the federal water master can’t open the dam.,” said Rudnick.
Just a few weeks ago, the gates of the dam were mostly all open; now just a single gate is open releasing the minimum amount of water.
“We usually don’t touch the bottom at all with our tubes, so we’re just dragging along,” said Local Hannah Ford.
The rafting companies are keeping their fingers crossed that demand for water goes up, so the federal water master can open more gates.
Meanwhile, the Walman family and others went out and bought rafts, but it wasn’t the same.
“We’re just floating around, and it’s not the same as it used to be, but for our fun and enjoyment, we’re making the best of,” said Walman.
Rudnick hopes there will be more demand for water so that more gates can open. He’s hopeful he’ll be back in business by the first week of August.