Auburn – Directors of the Placer County Water Agency reiterated the agency’s public policy position that land development in western Placer County should be served with surface water, not groundwater.
Board members expressed concern that the AKT Development Corp. of Sacramento is continuing to propose the use of wells in development of the large housing development and proposed university project west of Roseville.
The water agency, County of Placer and cities of Roseville and Lincoln are working on a joint groundwater management plan that seeks to sustain Placer County groundwater resources. Some integrated use of groundwater is seen, but mainly as a backup and emergency supply.
Surface water is available to the project, agency officials said, noting that the developer should install public water system infrastructure as would any other developer. ‘If you allow an exemption, how would you say no to the next one, and the next one?’ asked PCWA Board Chairman Alex Ferreira.
District 1 Director Pauline Roccucci said that through its policies and infrastructure investment the agency has prepared to meet the long-term water needs of western Placer County. She noted that if landowners in Placer County do not take advantage of the surface water available to them, local surface water supplies could be claimed by downstream interests and there could become an over extraction of the county groundwater.
As part of their discussion, directors reviewed a June 27 letter from the City of Lincoln, which supports PCWA and states the city’s opposition to groundwater use.
Loren Clark of the Placer County Planning Department said a draft environmental impact report on the proposed university project and housing development is expected later this year. The project is made up of 3232 residential units of varying densities, 1155 residential units for students and faculty, commercial developments and the university. If the project continues to rely on groundwater, he said, the county Board of Supervisors would need to decide the policy matter.
In other business, PCWA directors:
- approved environmental studies and a project to install a 6.4-million-gallon water storage tank at Bickford Ranch west of Newcastle. Development plans had called for a smaller tank to supply the local area but the water agency saw greater value in a larger multiple-benefit tank that would be able to supply a much wider area of the western county.
- heard an update on the current American River Pump Station project. PCWA Director of Technical Services Brian Martin said first phase of the project is nearly complete and the Bureau of Reclamation is expected to award a Phase II contract later this month.
- reviewed the new strategic plan being developed by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and authorized staff to forward the agency’s favorable comments in support of adoption of the Plan.
- acknowledged the passing of longtime Placer County community leader Joaquin Farinha. Mr. Farinha served as the District 2 director on the PCWA board from 1977-85 and served on the board of the PCWA Public Facilities Corp. from 1988-99. Mr. Farinha died July 2 at age 79.
PCWA board meetings are open to the public.
Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained by calling the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4860.