The regulation proposed by the Government provides for recognition and protection of all rights in and to the waters and shores of Lake Tahoe, including the rights of the general public and of the lovers of natural beauty everywhere, and it is believed that the charms, as well as the utilities, of this paragon of lakes can more safely be entrusted to a permanent government agency than to any single private interest.
A few additions to Mr. Cole’s lucid statement will help the general reader to a fuller comprehension of the difficulty as between the States of Nevada and California. It will be recalled that Lake Tahoe has an area of about 193 square miles, of which 78 square miles are in the counties of Washoe, Ormsby and Douglas, Nevada, the remaining 115 square miles being in Placer and El Dorado Counties, California.
Because of this fact, that nearly two-thirds of the superficial area of the Lake is in California, the people of California claim that they have the natural and inherent right to control, even to determining of its disposal at least nearly two-thirds of the water of the Lake.
The situation, however, is further complicated by the fact that the only outlet to the Lake is in California near Tahoe City, in Placer County, into the Truckee River, which meanders for some miles in a northeasterly course until it leaves California, enters Nevada, passes through the important city of Reno, and finally empties into Pyramid Lake, which practically has no outlet.
In response to the claim of California, the people of Nevada, in which it appears they are backed up by the U.S. Reclamation Service, contend that Nature has already determined whither the overflow waters of Lake Tahoe shall go. That, while they do not wish in the slightest to restrict the proper use of the waters of the Truckee River by the dwellers upon that river, they insist that no one else is entitled to their use, and that every drop of superfluous water, legally and morally, belongs to them, to be used as they deem proper.
In accordance with this conception of their rights the Nevada legislature passed the following act, which was approved, March 6, 1913:
That for the purpose of aiding the Truckee-Carson reclamation project now being carried out by the Reclamation Service of the United States of America, under the Act of Congress approved June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. p. 384), known as the Reclamation Act, and acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto, consent is hereby given to the use by the United States of America of Lake Tahoe, situated partly in the State of California and partly in the State of Nevada, and the waters, bed, shores and capability of use for reservoir purposes thereof, in such manner and to such extent as the United States of America through its lawful agencies shall think proper for such purpose, and as fully as the State of Nevada