Banner Mountain residents want to know where water is going
Banner Mountain residents are looking beyond a Nevada Irrigation District pipeline aimed at replacing a historic canal and are urging the county to look at the district’s future water plans.
Representatives from the Banner Mountain Homeowners Association warned Nevada County supervisors Tuesday that NID’s major Lower Cascade Canal pipeline project should be tied to the district’s raw water update so the county will know if there is enough water to serve future growth. There is also concern among some Banner Mountain residents that as wells fail, NID water will be unavailable as it is piped away from the area, said Jeff Toff, president of Save Banner Mountain.
“We’re concerned right now that NID has planned with little input from the supervisors,” Toff said. “We can’t get NID water, even though the pipeline goes right past our house.”
NID is drafting an environmental impact report for the pipeline project, which is aimed at supplying more and cleaner water to downstream users. The buried pipe will be routed along the southern flank of Banner Mountain.
While Toff urged supervisors to become more involved with NID’s water plans, several board members appeared to be comfortable with the county’s efforts. They pointed to water service studies being done by the Local Agency Formation Commission and the Planning Department’s tracking of wells in the county.
Nancy Weber, an NID board member, said failing wells are a problem, yet it costs tens of thousands of dollars to have an NID waterline extended to an unserved home. Weber said it would have cost her $42,500 to have NID extend service to her house.
“A lot of people are desperate in the meantime,” she said. “If (supervisors) continue to allow development where there is no water, you are doing a disservice to this county.”
Toff, meanwhile, noted that the capacity for the proposed pipeline will be significantly more than the flows that now run through the Banner-Cascade Canal. He questioned whether NID was planning to send the extra flow to serve the rapidly developing Lincoln area, part of which is in the district’s service area.
“That excess water is going to go somewhere,” Toff said. “Where is (it) going?”
NID Chief Engineer Tim McCall said the district can get water to Lincoln by way of Lake Spaulding and the Bear River rather than through the Cascade canal system.
Supervisor Drew Bedwell pointed out that NID held dozens of meetings with Banner Mountain residents about the fate of the historic canal and the pipeline plan.
“The goal of the meetings was not to address our concerns, but to convince us what they are doing is right,” said Frans Velthuijsen, secretary of the Banner Mountain Homeowners Association.
Velthuijsen went on to say the association is not asking for the pipeline project to be stopped.
Supervisor Sue Horne said the notion that water was going to be flowing out of NID’s district to serve other areas was incorrect. She noted that NID serves part of Placer County.
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