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Auburn, Calif.- While Placer County has many modern, state-of-the-art water systems, there are many rural areas of the county that remain unserved and underserved when it comes to water supplies.

Identifying and documenting the needs of these areas is an enormous task now being undertaken by the Placer County Water Agency.  PCWA is the county’s largest water supplier and also its water resource planning agency.

In a presentation Thursday (Oct. 17) to the PCWA Board of Directors, Deputy Director of Technical Services Brent Smith said there are 135 separate water systems now in use in Placer County, 100 of which are publicly-operated and 35 of which are privately-operated.  

“These systems are located primarily in the Lake Tahoe Basin and along the Interstate 80 corridor but are found throughout the county,” Smith said.

“Old and aging water infrastructure and lack of adequate emergency water storage are common in the smaller systems,” Smith said.  “Some of the smaller systems are operated by volunteer residents who would like to retire.  Many systems are struggling to find new residents willing to take over operations and maintenance,” he noted.

Studies of the small systems are part of PCWA’s ongoing effort to develop a countywide water system master plan.  The plan is a long-term effort to improve water reliability in underserved areas and to evaluate the feasibility and costs to extend  water service to areas that are unserved, including those far from existing water systems and those with problem wells.

 In other business, PCWA directors: 

  • voted to support the Statewide Water Action Plan (SWAP), a broad effort organized by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).  The plan is being supported by many Northern California water purveyors as a way to address solutions not covered in the current Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
  • approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Northstar Community Services District covering the transfer of the PCWA Zone 4 water system in the Martis Valley to the adjacent Northstar, which is currently operating the system under contract with PCWA.  Officials said the transfer would occur following approval of the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission.
  • approved environmental studies and a plan to restore water storage capacity in Clover Valley Reservoir near Penryn.  The reservoir dates to 1909 and has been filling in with siltation that limits its storage capacity.  Work is tentatively planned for 2015.
  • held a retirement presentation for Director of Technical Services Brian Martin who retired Friday (Oct. 18) following a 15-year career with the water agency.  In his position, Martin managed the activities of 53 employees in the PCWA Engineering and Water Quality divisions.

PCWA board meetings are open to the public. Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.

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