Aimed at managing resources, improving infrastructure reliability
Auburn, Calif. – The Placer County Water Agency Board of Directors on Thursday approved a new budget for 2024 totaling $175 million. Almost half of the 2024 budget is dedicated to capital projects to improve existing infrastructure and prepare for planned economic development in the region, while the balance is dedicated to maintaining reliability for our existing customers.
Just as the people who came before us foresaw the need and secured a reliable water supply, today’s focus is on keeping customers supplied with reliable water while also gearing up for future necessities.
Adequate Water Supplies
“In the 1960s, Placer voters saw fit to ensure a reliable water supply for future generations,” said Robert Dugan, chair of the PCWA board. “We are fortunate to have adequate water supplies – right here at home – to meet the needs of the vibrant communities we serve. But there’s a pressing need to maintain our infrastructure to ensure customers have access to the clean, reliable water they need to thrive.” Hence the focus on capital improvement projects in the new budget.
The operating budget for PCWA’s Water Division is $51.7 million, while the Power Division is $31.5 million. The Agency Wide operating budget is $5.6 million. Capital improvements for the Water Division are planned at $24 million, compared to $45 million for the Power Division.
Funded water infrastructure projects include:
- $2 million to prepare for the construction of PCWA’s Ophir Water Treatment Plant, which will serve a fast-growing western Placer County. Dugan emphasized the agency has adequate water supplies to keep pace with economic development for the foreseeable future. But by 2030, the agency estimates it will need more capacity to treat that supply to drinking-water standards. Funding in 2024’s budget will allow for continued design work on PCWA’s biggest, near-term infrastructure project, which is scheduled to be bid for construction in 2025.
- $5.6 million for additional standby generators at PCWA’s American River and Ophir Road pump stations. These new generators will double pumping capacity during electricity interruptions, helping to ensure customers continue to receive water even when power is out, such as during wildfire or periods of high fire danger. A portion of this cost is expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, administered through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Funded power infrastructure projects include:
- $8.5 million in funding for forest health, wildfire mitigation and watershed management projects and post-wildfire recovery projects including:
: $8 million to remove sediment from Ralston Afterbay, a critical component in PCWA’s Middle Fork American River Project (MFARP). The sediment was caused by severe erosion following the September 2022 Mosquito Fire, which significantly reduced water storage capacity in the afterbay.
: $500,000 to continue forest health, wildfire mitigation, and watershed management activities on the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project and MFARP. In partnership with other public and private agencies and landowners, including the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests, PCWA will continue thinning overgrown forests around French Meadows Reservoir and planning future restoration projects.
- $28.6 million in funding for upgrades and renewal, replacement, and reliability projects on the MFARP infrastructure.
- $15.8 million for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license infra-structure and recreation projects as part of the 2020 MFARP relicensing. This includes seasonal storage and work on numerous facilities that benefit the public, including improvements to campgrounds, boat launch ramps, picnic areas and trails.
Funding for new infrastructure comes from water connection fees, while funding for renewal and replacement projects on existing infrastructure comes from rates. Funding for all PCWA Power Division projects comes from the sale of hydroelectric energy products from the MFARP.
PCWA board meetings are open to the public.
For information on PCWA board meetings, please contact the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.