At its January 7 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors received its first snowpack and water supply report of the year.
Latest snowpack levels in the American River basin measured 15.8 inches of water equivalent, which is 100 percent of the 30-year average and three times higher than the peak achieved in 2015.
“Considering the past two dry years, the forecast is very favorable,” PCWA General Manager Einar Maisch said. “We are experiencing storms very much in line with a typical El Nino pattern, and continued wet weather will help build the snowpack and fill our mountain reservoirs.”
The encouraging weather comes at the same time the State Water Resources Control Board considers extending current drought regulations. Although proposed changes to the regulations may bring some relief, Board members expressed dismay that the reliability of local supplies are not being considered. Storage for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) Drum-Spaulding System currently sits at 113,000 acre-feet, 118 percent of normal for this time of the year. PCWA’s Middle Fork Project storage sits at 99,000 acre-feet, 58 percent of normal.
In addition to the water supply and drought update, the Board received an update from both PCWA and PG&E staff regarding diesel that leaked into a canal that feeds the Alta water treatment plant.
The leak was likely a result of an accident that occurred on Interstate 80 on December 29. The contamination has been isolated, and water is being re-routed from PG&E’s system directly to PCWA’s system, bypassing the contamination. PG&E continues to work diligently on clean up efforts. Water samples in the downstream drinking water system continue to show no detection of contamination; however, a slight odor of diesel may still be present. No water quality issues have been detected beyond the Alta water system and, to date, not one health standard has been exceeded.
In other news, PCWA Directors:
– Received year-end reports from the Agency’s Power System, Technical Services, and Field Services departments. Each department highlighted accomplishments for 2015, and anticipated challenges and opportunities for 2016.
Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.