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PCWA Plans for Reduction in Water Supplies

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AUBURN -- Facing a projected loss of water supply availability this year, the Placer County Water Agency Board of Directors is finalizing plans for water use reductions to be taken by all of its customers for the duration of the water shortage emergency.

 The Board on Thursday (Mar. 20) heard several staff reports on the water shortage including a wide array of water use reduction alternatives.  The Board is scheduled to make a final decision on customer water reductions after the results of an April 1 snow survey is known.  (This survey is considered to be the best indicator of water supply available for 2014.)

Placer County Drought Watch Updates

 Drought project manager Tony Firenzi said, "PCWA now anticipates 103,000 acre-feet of water availability this year, including use of pumped water from the American River and groundwater from two wells within the Sunset Industrial area.  This is 25,000 acre-feet, or 20 percent less water this year, than the baseline supply of 128,000 acre-feet."

 "The rain and snowstorms of February and early March have eased what appeared to be a critically dry year, but the mountain snowpack is thin and expected to produce well below average runoff," said Firenzi.
 Under current staff recommendations, treated water customers would be asked to reduce water usage by at least 10 percent and to limit outdoor watering to three days a week or less.

  Raw water supplied to canal customers is recommended to be reduced by 25 percent.  This would be accomplished by placing reduced-size orifices at each canal service and rolling outages on would occur as needed.  In recognition of the reduction in raw water supplies, it is recommended that canal customers' bi-monthly bills be reduced by 25 percent.

       A process is recommended whereby water customers could request consideration of a waiver to the reductions provided they meet certain criteria.  

 Directors indicated they would reconsider an earlier measure that limited new treated water connections and new outdoor usage during the emergency.

       These and other water reduction-related actions are scheduled for adoption by the Board on Apr. 3 to become part of PCWA's drought emergency declaration.

 In other business, directors:

  • heard a report from Director of Technical Services Brent Smith, who reported on potential water projects that could ease water shortages in future dry years.  Among these are expansion of the agency's American River Pump Station, an emergency intertie with the San Juan Water District, and use of wells and recycled water in areas where it is available.
  • approved a cost-sharing agreement with seven regional partners to continue PCWA's efforts to protect local water supplies in face of increasing downstream demand and requirements of the Bay Delta planning process.  Director of Strategic Affairs Einar Maisch said the cost-sharing plan could reduce PCWA's ongoing costs in the effort.
  • heard a presentation from representatives of West Yost Associates, an engineering firm that assisted in development of the Davis-Woodland Water Supply Project, a $230 million river diversion and regional water treatment project that goes into construction this spring.  PCWA officials said the project is similar in many ways to the agency's Sacramento River diversion project which has been under study in recent years.

 The next regular meeting of the PCWA Board of Directors will be held at 2 p.m. on Apr. 3 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.  The PCWA website, features a Drought Update link with many water saving tips and techniques.

 Placer County Drought Watch Updates

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