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Concerns Rise as Reservoirs Fall in Placer County

AUBURN - As a very dry 2013 draws to a close, the Placer County Water Agency is very concerned about the lack of adequate rainfall to replenish water supplies in nearby mountain reservoirs as the new year begins.

 In a water supply update to the PCWA Board of Directors on Thursday (Dec. 19), Deputy Director of Technical Services Tony Firenzi said, "Given the current outlook there is growing concerns that the region faces a very dry water year in 2014. And the way things look now, even a wetter than average precipitation would be needed to restore average storage levels on the upper Yuba-Bear and American river watersheds which PCWA depends upon for its surface water supplies."

 "Right now, our water storage is at 90 percent of average for this time of year, so we're in good shape for the time being," Firenzi said, "but we're very concerned about the continuing dry forecasts."

 Water storage in reservoirs to serve PCWA customers has remained at or near average levels despite back-to-back unusual water years.  The 2011/12 water year (measured October 1 - September 30) was dry but ended near average after the so-called "Miracle March" in spring 2012.  It was followed by a 2012/13 water year that produced near record precipitation last November and December but then turned unusually dry.  

 "In fact," said Firenzi, "the 2013 calendar year is on track to close as one of the driest ever measured, which is the basis for serious concern as we look ahead at water availability for 2014."

 Director of Resource Development Andy Fecko said, "Unfortunately current weather patterns do not signal any immediate changes to a precipitation season that has so far produced just 18 percent of average rainfall for our region."

 PCWA General Manager David Breninger said, "The water agency is very concerned and will be tracking precipitation and water storage very closely as the season progresses with regular updates presented at upcoming board meetings. And, as may be needed as the year moves on, there is the strong probability of having to implement water use reduction and conservation practices by customers." 

 In other business, the directors:

  • approved a $500 community outreach sponsorship for Leadership Auburn, a program that trains and helps develop community leaders of the future.  Leadership Auburn spokesman and former mayor Bob Snyder thanked the agency for its ongoing support of the program.
  • heard annual reports on the PCWA Power System and Financial Services departments.  Near the end of each year, department managers report on accomplishments of the past year and opportunities of the year ahead.

 The next regular meeting of the PCWA Board of Directors will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 2, 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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