Turbidity Concerns in the Bear River

October 11, 2018

In an effort to accommodate both a sediment removal project and a hydroelectric upgrade project during the annual Fall drawdown at Combie Reservoir, NID reduced reservoir water levels not seen in years. The drop in water elevation has caused a hydraulic scouring of previously settled silt in the bottom of the reservoir that has quickly created an increase of turbidity outflowing from the reservoir and into the Bear River.

NID staff is on-site with aerial and field assessments, and has determined that the turbidity event has been a result of river scouring at low water levels and not as a result of the sediment removal or hydroelectric projects occurring. NID is currently taking proactive measures to actively monitor water quality and fisheries habitat in the Bear River downstream of Combie.

NID takes this matter seriously. We have reached out to inform and are in close conversation with the California Fish and Wildlife Department and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding the issue. At this time, NID is actively engaged with professional biologists, regulatory agencies and District staff to determine viable solutions to the problem.

NID continues to ensure water delivery to customers remain of paramount concern. We anticipate that Placer County NID irrigation water customers may experience turbid waters through the remainder of the irrigation season (Oct. 14). Treated water customers in the Lake of the Pines area and north Auburn, however, should not experience a change in water quality during this period.