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EID asks for voluntary water conservation, stops short of declaring drought

PLACERVILLE — During its Jan. 13 meeting, the El Dorado Irrigation District board received an update from staff regarding the district’s water supply in relation to the ongoing dry conditions. The district’s service area has experienced two consecutive dry years, with calendar year 2013 being the driest on record.

“Because EID has an integrated water supply system with multiple sources, we have some operational flexibility to move water from our high Sierra lakes into our reservoirs and hold the water there until needed, or move water around our system in other ways, depending on our requirements. However, the lack of rainfall so far this winter really has us concerned,” said Brian Mueller, EID’s engineering director.

Mueller reported that Jenkinson Lake, one of EID’s main sources of water, is approximately 65 percent full with 26,600 acre-feet of stored water as of January 6, 2014. The historical average for this time of year is 76 percent full. “The reservoir would be in worse condition, if not for the fact that in 2013 the District was able to import approximately 3,500 acre-feet of water into Jenkinson Lake from our hydroelectric Project 184, another primary source of EID water, through the Hazel Creek tunnel in anticipation of continuing dry conditions. We expect to import more water through the Hazel Creek tunnel in 2014. Nevertheless, the storage in Jenkinson Lake is continuing to decline when it should be in a filling period, and we need a lot of precipitation in order to reverse that trend. Project 184 is expected to deliver the full pre-1914 water right of 15,080 acre-feet this year for consumptive use through a combination of normal deliveries to the Reservoir 1 water treatment plant and the Hazel Creek tunnel diversions into Jenkinson Lake.

“Folsom Reservoir is approximately 18 percent full as of Jan. 6, 2014, which is approximately 37 percent of average for this time of year. Currently, the supplies available to EID from Folsom Reservoir include the United States Bureau of Reclamation contract of 7,550 acre-feet and the ditch/Weber Reservoir water rights totaling 4,560 acre-feet,” said Mueller.

“We are not solely dependent on our water allocation from Folsom Reservoir since we also draw water from our other sources. As a result, we have not experienced the same devastating consequences as other water purveyors who are reliant on Folsom Reservoir. Despite this fact, we are still concerned with the lack of rainfall this winter and are urging customers to voluntarily cut back their water usage, conserve, and not waste water.”

Mueller also discussed EID’s Drought Preparedness Plan, adopted by the Board in 2008, which describes various stages of drought. Each stage outlines steps for the district and its customers to take as water shortages become progressively worse. In a stage one drought where water supplies are slightly restricted, customers are asked to reduce their water use — voluntarily — to help achieve up to a 15 percent reduction in demand. In order to prepare for potential continued dry conditions this winter, the District is moving forward to implement several operational strategies to minimize future impacts and conserve its supplies to the extent possible.

Although the board has not declared a drought, EID is encouraging customers to voluntarily reduce their water use by following these water saving suggestions:

  • Turn off your irrigation system for the winter or irrigate your landscape only one time per week if needed.
  • Inspect your irrigation system, repair any leaks, and adjust spray heads to prevent overspray.
  • Take advantage of EID’s irrigation efficiency rebates.
  • Request complimentary plumbing retrofits for self-installation.
  • Fix all plumbing leaks promptly.
  • Sweep paved areas rather than washing with a hose.
  • Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full.
  • Turn off the water while shaving or brushing teeth.

To learn more about EID’s response to the drought and other drought-related documents and water efficiency information visit eid.org/drought.

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Posted by on Jan 16 2014.
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