NID Begins Planning for a New Reservoir

The Big Picture

NID Begins Planning for a New Reservoir

By Rem Scherzinger
General Manager
Nevada Irrigation District

Your NID Board of Directors on Wednesday (Aug. 13) took a historic step into the water future of Nevada and Placer counties.

The board authorized staff to file an application for the annual appropriation of 221,400 acre-feet of water from the Bear River. The district’s application was filed later that day with the State Water Resources Control Board along with the payment of $488,459 in filing fees.

This is the first of many steps that are foreseen in coming years as part of the planning, financing and construction of a new 110,000 acre-foot reservoir on the Bear River between our existing Rollins and Combie reservoirs.

This is locally known as the Parker Reservoir would extend upriver from just above Combie Reservoir for six miles to a point west of Colfax. Hydroelectric energy production and public recreational opportunities are expected to be part of the project.

The Parker Reservoir site has been part of NID’s water portfolio since the early 1920s when district founders were planning the NID water system. In 1926, the district’s chief engineer, Fred H. Tibbetts, in what is now referred to as the Tibbetts Report, documented the positive attributes of a Parker reservoir. Tibbetts found the Parker site to be superior to Rollins, Dog Bar and Combie, which were also part of a Bear River reconnaissance project.

NID holds senior pre-1914 water rights to the Bear River and has over time acquired additional post-1914 water rights. In its formative years, NID acquired several hundred acres of land along the river. NID owns more than 1,200 acres within the Parker Reservoir project area, which also extends to some adjacent lands.

Parker Reservoir would directly benefit the southern portions of NID, including the district’s Placer County service areas. Upstream areas in Nevada County will also benefit as the district would be able to route more water from the mountains down the Yuba River/Deer Creek watershed and less down the Bear River side.

Today’s drought certainly raises awareness of the importance of water storage but our planning goes much further. It is clear that climate change is bringing uncertainty to our state’s water supplies. The NID water system is over-reliant on the “water bank” that lies in the annual mountain snowpack. We must develop lower elevation storage that can capture runoff from rain storms as well as snow storms.

This water resource development will be a cornerstone achievement in NID’s 93-year history. The district was formed in 1921 and was expanded significantly 50 years ago with the 1963-66 development of the Yuba-Bear Power Project. Parker Reservoir would increase water storage available to district residents from 280,000 to 390,000 acre-feet, helping to ensure a stable water supply for district customers for generations to come.

It is estimated that planning and building Parker Reservoir would cost approximately $160 million. NID would use revenues from hydroelectric energy production (these funds were used to pay the initial filing fees), potential funding through state water bonds and other sources, and probably a local bond issue. A half-century ago, NID voters overwhelmingly approved a local bond issue to fund the Yuba-Bear Project. Those bonds have been repaid and district residents today enjoy a much stronger and reliable water system, along with significant annual revenues from power production.

It is our hope that we will receive the same strong community support as we move forward in this important effort. The preservation and use our valuable “area of origin” water resources here at home is in the very best interests of NID customers and taxpayers.

Alta Sierra David Way

General Outage Area: David Way, Alice Way, Lawrence Way, Tina Court
Date: 09/09/2014 to 09/09/2014
Time: 08:30 am to 03:00 pm

David Way, Alice Way, Lawrence Way, Tina Court: replace compressor on pressure tank

Board of Directors and Joint Powers Authority, Wednesday, August 21, 2014

The Board of Directors and the Joint Powers Authority will meet in regular session at the District’s Board Room located at 1036 West Main Street, Grass Valley, at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

North Auburn – Joeger Road

General Outage Area: Bell Road, Joeger Road, Copper Penny
Date: 09/02/2014 to 09/02/2014
Time: 08:30 am to 03:00 pm

Bell Road, Joeger Road, Copper Penny: Leak repair on Blow Off Valve

Maintenance & Resources Management Committee, Change of Meeting Date, August 27, 2014

The Maintenance & Resources Management Committee scheduled for Tuesday, August 26, 2014, has been changed to Wednesday, August 27, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.

NID Calls for Halt to Midday Watering

 Contact:  Chip Close
(530) 273-6185
Or:     Dave Carter
(530) 265-NEWS
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NID Calls for Halt to Midday Watering

GRASS VALLEY  -  The Nevada irrigation District is calling on all urban water customers to refrain from outdoor watering between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., NID announced Thursday (July 31).

The action comes as the district implements portions of Stage III of its Drought Contingency Plan and strives to comply with a directive from the State Water Resources Control Board.

“It’s part of our continuing effort to preserve water during the drought so that we will have adequate supplies for 2015,” said NID Water Operations Manager Chip Close.

“The state has called for mandatory reductions in outdoor watering during the heat of the day and is recommending that outdoor watering with potable water be limited to two times a week,” he said.

The conservation measures are directed to users of potable, treated water and do not apply to agricultural water use, although everyone is urged to conserve water.

Close said the district’s actions are in response to the emergency regulations adopted July 15 by the state water board.

The state regulations also prohibit:

• washing down driveways and sidewalks

• outdoor watering that causes excess runoff

• use of a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shutoff nozzle

• use of potable water in a fountain or decorative feature unless the water is recirculated.

The state board has ruled that violations of the regulations are infractions and subject to fines of up to $500.

NID Shares Concerns on Water, Drought, Climate Change

 

Learning About Water NID legal adviser Jeff Meith explains California water rights during the Nevada Irrigation District Water Summit on Thursday evening (July 24). About 250 people turned out for the event held in the Don Baggett Theater at Nevada Union High School

Learning About Water
NID legal adviser Jeff Meith explains California water rights during the Nevada Irrigation District Water Summit on Thursday evening (July 24). About 250 people turned out for the event held in the Don Baggett Theater at Nevada Union High School

GRASS VALLEY – An audience of about 250 turned out on Thursday evening (July 24) to learn about challenges the Nevada Irrigation District faces regarding the current drought and our changing water future.

The two-hour NID Water Summit, held in the Don Baggett Theater at Nevada Union High School, included presentations on the district’s water system and operations, issues involving water rights, changing rules and regulations, and the water supply impacts of climate change.

“The district’s water storage is not currently adequate to endure back to back dry years,” said NID Water Operations Manager Chip Close, who noted the region, is now in its third dry year.  “Our system relies heavily on the water in the snowpack.”

NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger said a changing and warming climate is bringing less snow and more rain.  He said more rain and less snow at higher elevations will impact the district’s ability to collect water.  “Most of our reservoirs are up at the higher elevations; we need to look at more mid-range storage,” he said.

NID legal counsel Jeff Meith explained the pre-1914 and post-1914 water rights the district uses to supply its customers.  The district’s post-1914, or “junior” water rights to divert water have been suspended under the State Water Board’s May 27 curtailment order, but the pre-1914 “senior” rights remain unaffected, he said.

“I’m from the old school that says water rights are property rights,” said Meith.  He recounted a series of drought actions taken at the state level this year, from the governor’s drought emergency declaration on Jan. 17 to the state board’s emergency water use regulations of July 15.  He said the state rules have been confusing and difficult to enforce for local agencies.

Scherzinger said NID service areas in Nevada and Placer counties are getting through the drought with customers doing a great job of water conservation.  NID has asked all customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent.  “Our urban water use is down 16 percent over the past four months,” he said.

The general manager drew rounds of applause when he said, ”We don’t sell our water outside the district; we keep it here where it performs for us,” and when he talked about NID’s unique project to remove Gold Rush-era mercury from the Bear River watershed while reclaiming valuable water storage space.

Scherzinger said NID is studying a range of opportunities for increasing water storage.  These include sediment removal from existing reservoirs, raising Rollins Reservoir by five feet and considering new storage sites.  “When it comes to new water storage, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” he said.

The Water Summit was recorded and is expected to be posted on the NID website (www.nidwater.com) in coming days.  It was also broadcast live on Nevada City radio station KVMR-89.5 FM (www.kvmr.org), which plans a podcast to make it available for later listening, a link will also be provided on NID’s website.

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NID Prepares for New State Drought Rules

Contact:  Rem Scherzinger
(530) 273-6185
Or:     Dave Carter
(530) 265-NEWS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Water Summit July 24 in Grass Valley

NID Prepares for New State Drought Rules

GRASS VALLEY  -   The Nevada Irrigation District is considering stronger water conservation measures that could take effect in August, it was announced at Wednesday’s (July 23) meeting of the NID Board of Directors.

General Manager Rem Scherzinger said the district may implement portions of its Stage III Drought Contingency Plan to comply with new emergency urban water use regulations handed down by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Under a current Stage II drought declaration, NID is asking all customers to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.  The new rules may call for mandatory conservation measures including limits on days of outdoor watering and a prohibition of watering between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  Other measures triggered by the state regulations include discontinuance of washing down driveways and sidewalks and irrigation that causes excess runoff.

“Staff is reviewing the new emergency regulations to ensure that appropriate actions are followed,” said Scherzinger.  “We’re doing a good job in our community.  Our urban water use is down 16 percent since March.”

The NID Board of Directors will meet in adjourned session this evening (July 24) for a special community Water Summit.  The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the Don Baggett Theatre at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley.  The meeting is open to the public and will also be broadcast live on Nevada City community radio station KVMR-89.5 FM (www.kvmr.org.)

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NID, SunSmile Farms Settle Pipeline Issue

Contact:  Rem Scherzinger
(530) 273-6185
Or:     Dave Carter
(530) 265-NEWS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NID, Sun Smile Farms Settle Pipeline Issue

GRASS VALLEY –   The Nevada Irrigation District and water user George Loftus have resolved their dispute over responsibility for the water service pipeline to the Loftus property.

A statement released Thursday (July 17) by NID said “The parties worked cooperatively to come to a mutually agreeable solution and avoid litigation.  The agreement provides certainty regarding future responsibility and will eliminate future disagreement.”

The disagreement involved a question of public or private ownership of a historic water pipeline that serves SunSmile Farms, located off Rough & Highway west of Grass Valley.

NID and Loftus agreed to withhold further information regarding the settlement.

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NID Hosts Water Summit – Local Water Issues Explored at Public Forum

Contact:  Rem Scherzinger
(530) 273-6185
Or:     Dave Carter
(530) 265-NEWS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NID Hosts Water Summit

Local Water Issues Explored at Public Forum

GRASS VALLEY  -  Water issues facing the Sierra foothills will be explored during a special community meeting hosted by the Nevada Irrigation District.

Water Summit 2014 will be held on Thursday, July 24, from 6-8 p.m. in the Don Baggett Theater at Nevada Union High School, 11761 Ridge Road, in Grass Valley.

Community and water industry leaders from around Nevada and Placer counties have been invited to attend the meeting, which is also open to the public.

“We want to share some of the concerns we have,” said NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger.  “The drought, climate change and changing state regulations are bringing uncertainty to the district’s water supply and operations.

“How can our community best respond to these challenges and better prepare for the future?  We want to hear from our community.”

NID Board President John Drew will welcome guests and open the meeting, NID Water Operations Manager Chip Close will provide a water supply and operations overview, NID special counsel Dustin Cooper will address issues involving NID water rights and NID general counsel Jeff Meith will provide information on how other agencies are dealing with similar issues.

Scherzinger will provide a summary and overview and will lead a question and answer and public comment period.

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