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Placer County Water Agency Update

AUBURN -   Directors of the Placer County Water Agency on Thursday (Feb. 21) adopted a new groundwater management plan for the Martis Valley in eastern Placer County.

 The board's action followed adoption a day earlier (Feb. 20) by directors of the Truckee Donner Public Utility District and the Northstar Community Services District,  PCWA's local partners in the two-year project.
 Each of the participating agencies supplies water drawn from the groundwater basin.  Truckee Donner Public Utility District and PCWA had older management plans but there had been no overall plan for the entire 57 square-mile basin.

 The goal of the new plan is to ensure the long-term quality and availability of groundwater in the Martis Valley Basin, a two-county area that straddles the Placer-Nevada county line near Truckee.

 Project coordinator Tony Firenzi, a senior engineer with PCWA, said the collaborative effort was aimed at promoting good regional water management and aligned water policy.  Objectives include management of groundwater to maintain established and planned uses, and management in accordance with the existing Truckee River Operating Agreement.  Firenzi described the new plan as a framework intended to support regional groundwater planning and management.

 The plan was prepared for the agencies by the Sacramento-based consulting firm of Brown and Caldwell.  Local shares included Truckee Donner Public Utility District, $150,000, Northstar Community Service District, $60,000; and PCWA, $40,000.  As a countywide water resources agency, PCWA served as lead agency in the planning effort.

 Preparation of the plan dovetailed with a concurrent effort of the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which is leading and funding 50% of a $1.7 million effort to study sustainability in the same watershed.  The bureau's Truckee River Basin study and climate change modeling project is expected to be completed in the next two years. 

In other business, PCWA directors:

  • reviewed a Feb. 18 letter from the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) to Gov. Brown, urging the governor to extend the protection of upstream water rights as the state seeks to solve issues surrounding the Delta.  PCWA and other members of the MCWRA remain concerned that Delta solutions could seek more water from upstream areas such as Placer County.
  • heard a presentation from Risk and Safety Administrator David Rawe on the agency's Worker's Compensation insurance program.  Agency officials are considering a cost-saving self-insurance program.  Directors instructed Rawe to provide further financial information on the proposed change.
  • welcomed Nevada County garden writer Carolyn Singer, whose new book, "The Seasoned Gardener," is focused on gardening in the Sierra foothills and includes advice on irrigation and water efficiency.  The book is available at Eisley's Nursery in Auburn and is expected at other local locations soon.

The next regular meeting of the PCWA board will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 7, at the PCWA Business Center, 144 Ferguson Road, in Auburn.  PCWA board meetings are open to the public.  Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.  PCWA information is also posted at

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