Nevada County’s water board to talk rate hike, Raw Water Master Plan |

Nevada County’s water board to talk rate hike, Raw Water Master Plan

Know & Go

What: Raw Water Master Plan workshop

When: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday

Where: NID Board Room, 1036 West Main St., Grass Valley

For info:

What: Water rate meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. March 19

Where: NID offices, 1036 West Main St., Grass Valley

For info: Call 530-273-6185 or email, or go online at

Nevada County’s water district is taking baby steps in its effort to build a more inclusive community input process for determining its water needs over the next 50 years.

The Nevada Irrigation District board of directors last fall hired a consultant to lead the stakeholder process to update its Raw Water Master Plan, to the tune of $800,000. But pushback from the public and cost-conscious directors led to terminating that contract and starting over.

On Tuesday, the district’s Water & Hydroelectric Operations Committee will host a workshop that is open to the public, featuring industry experts on public involvement best practices.

The presenters are Melissa Eliott of consultant group Raftelis and Patricia Tennyson, Executive Vice President with Katz & Associates.

Elliott is the incoming President-Elect of the American Water Works Association and the former Chair of its Public Affairs Council. She was the Director of Public Affairs at Denver Water with extensive experience working with elected officials, stakeholders and the public on issues as diverse as drought, water quality, potable reuse, affordability, rate structure change, impactful construction and water supply projects, and demand management.

Tennyson develops and helps implement community and government relations programs, and communication and public affairs strategies throughout the United States. Before joining Katz & Associates, she directed the San Diego County Water Authority’s public affairs department.

Elliott and Tennyson will discuss reasons for involving the public, techniques for bringing people together and advisory group basics, among other topics, and will offer up several case studies.

Meetings scheduled regarding water rate changes

The water district also has scheduled two community meetings so customers in Nevada and Placer counties can learn more about its proposed water rate changes.

The district’s board intends to vote on increasing water rates at its April 24 meeting — changes that if approved would become effective in May. The proposed increases would mean treated water customers would see an average increase of $13.07 each month this year; monthly costs would almost double for many customers by 2023.

Notices announcing the proposed changes have been sent to every property owner and tenant in the water district. People have until April 24, the day of the expected vote on the rates, to submit written protests.

The first public meeting will be held on March 19 in Grass Valley, and the second is scheduled for March 21 in Placer County at the Auburn Holiday Inn, 120 Grass Valley Highway. The water district also has prepared for increased customer service inquiries and has staff ready to handle customer calls and emails during business hours.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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