NID Board of Directors address community comments on proposed Centennial project, cap spending

October 11, 2018

In a move balancing practicality and compromise, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Directors voted to keep the proposed Centennial Water Supply Project as a potential water supply option, but decided to limit annual spending to $2 million, during a special board meeting on Oct. 9.

The meeting was called to bring the community together to better understand NID’s process for exploring the proposed Centennial project, and address specific concerns laid by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL). Before an audience of more than 500 people at the Veterans Memorial Building in Grass Valley on Tuesday evening, Directors heard SYRCL’s presentation. Included was a requested resolution to cease all expenditures and activities related to Centennial or any other water storage project on the Bear River.

NID staff also provided a presentation that addressed SYRCL’s information requests and illustrated the long and complex process required for any proposed water supply option, including Centennial.

Paramount to the discussion was how to meet future water supply demands of the District and the needs of people who build lives here in the future. Public comment was taken following the presentations, which brought a variety of community perspectives to light. NID aspires for this dialogue to be extended to the community collaboration process, called Plan for Water, which is expected to launch in November. The process will explore water priorities for the NID community and develop pathway options to support the Raw Water Master Plan (RWMP) update.

Entering into that important process, no one project or solution should be preferred or precluded from consideration in the process, Directors noted. All options–including the proposed Centennial project–must be available for exploration. This is required to keep the integrity of a public process that must be open and inclusive of any and all ideas.

After SYRCL’s motion died on the floor, Director Scott Miller proposed a compromise with a motion to cap the annual spending on all proposed Centennial activities to no more than $2 million, starting next year.

The motion passed on a split vote, with Directors Miller, Weber and Wilcox in favor of the motion while Directors Drew and Morebeck were opposed.

Director Nancy Weber implored the audience to keep an open mind about the action, Resolution 2018-26 “Reprioritization of the Centennial Water Supply Project”: “The longer we are here with this, the more community dysfunction occurs,” she said. “I’m asking you to please put away the swords and see how we can work together. This is a compromise. Think about it before you attack it, please.”

After the meeting, NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger noted the Board had voted to limit some of its authority: “As a nod to SYRCL’s request, the most important thing was the Board voluntarily and independently chose to surrender some of its authority with regards to the Centennial budget,” Scherzinger said. “The Directors took away their ability to amend, add, contract over that $2 million limit.”