NID to move forward on Newtown Canal |

NID to move forward on Newtown Canal

The Nevada Irrigation District will move forward with a long-delayed project to eliminate a bottleneck on the Newtown Canal, which is a primary water source for Lake Wildwood and Penn Valley.

The NID Board of Directors on Wednesday authorized staff to move forward with a plan to bypass a 1,900-foot-long section of the canal with a buried pipeline along Newtown Road, three miles west of Nevada City.

Over the past year, through meetings with local property owners, NID agreed to upgrade the canal in place instead of moving it to the roadway but that plan has been delayed by a property owner who has not been able to come to agreement with the district over needed easements.

Lorraine Webb, one of several local residents to attend the meeting, said she and her neighbors favor keeping the canal and have tried to persuade the absentee owner to allow the water project. NID officials assured Webb and her neighbors that water would continue to be available, either through their own privately operated canal or through connections to the new pipeline.

“We’re very respectful of this board’s efforts to satisfy the wishes of all the neighbors,” said Webb, who volunteered to gather her neighbors together to determine how to best preserve their water supplies.

NID has been planning the canal rehabilitation for several years and earlier this year sought construction bids for the upgrade that would keep the canal in place.

The board’s recent action requires those bids to be rejected and new environmental studies to be undertaken on the roadway pipeline. The studies are expected to take about a year.

The project site is one of two primary bottlenecks NID is working to remove on the Newtown Canal. The district has placed a moratorium on new irrigation water connections because of the canal’s limited capacity.

In other business, directors:

— adopted a comprehensive new tree management policy that takes in existing policies on canal protection and campground tree management. Water Operations Manager Chip Close said the policy would allow NID to be more pro-active in its management.

He showed several photos of trees down in and across canals.

These instances can impact water deliveries and cause flooding and property damage, he said.

— heard a drought and water conservation update from General Manager Rem Scherzinger.

He reported that NID water users reduced April-August water use by 16 percent under last year’s level.

The monthly reduction for August was greater yet, at 18.1 percent, he noted.

The next regular meeting of the NID Board of Directors will be held 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the NID Business Center in Grass Valley. NID board meetings are open to the public.

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