Nevada Irrigation District says failed water canal won’t affect water access |

Nevada Irrigation District says failed water canal won’t affect water access

PG&E officials initially said they didn't know when the canal that failed on Feb. 10 would be repaired.
Courtesy of the Nevada Irrigation District |

NID officials said Wednesday no customer will receive less treated water after a portion of the South Yuba Canal was destroyed by a landslide.

Nevada Irrigation District directors unanimously approved an emergency declaration on Wednesday in the wake of the February failure of the canal. The declaration makes the project a priority for regulatory agencies that will oversee aspects of the canal’s rehabilitation, said Chip Close, NID’s water operations manager.

It’s unknown when PG&E, which owns that portion of the canal, will fix the damage.

“I know everyone wants to know when we’re going to have this restored,” said Judy Peck, PGE’s hydro-partnership project manager.

The landslide happened Feb. 10, destroying a portion of the canal on a steep hillside near Bear Valley. PG&E officials currently are determining how best to fix it, weighing factors like safety, feasibility, durability, cost and NID’s needs, Peck said.

According to Close, the canal isn’t needed when the natural flow of water is enough to serve NID customers. However, peak summer months could mean some agricultural water customers wouldn’t get the volume they anticipate without the working canal.

“If we continue to have a very wet season, it’s possible no one would be affected,” he added.

Water travels from Lake Spaulding through the PG&E canal before entering NID’s system. The canal’s failure impacts about 13,000 service connections.

When natural flows subside three pump stations will deliver water to Cascade Shores, Grass Valley, Chicago Park and Peardale. It’s unknown when NID will begin using the pump stations, Chip said.

“It’s all variable based on the amount of rain we receive during the winter,” he added.

The Wednesday discussion led NID Director Nancy Weber to question why officials failed to tell the board immediately about the canal’s failure. Invoking the Oroville Dam spillway, Weber then requested information about every dam in the district, including years of construction and any modifications made over their lifetime.

“I think we have a problem of confidence here and we need to be up front with the information,” Weber said.

Director Nick Wilcox disagreed with Weber tying the Oroville spillway to PG&E’s canal.

“There is a connection, Nick,” Weber said.

“There’s not,” he answered.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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