Pipeline hubbub focus of NID debate
One big question was hanging over everyone’s head Tuesday night at a candidates’ debate between three contenders to serve as the Nevada City-area director on the Nevada Irrigation District board.
What about the pipeline?
NID officials first introduced a controversial proposal in February to place a roughly 4-foot diameter, five-mile-long pipeline across Banner Mountain residents’ property.
They’ve backpedaled somewhat since then. Today, NID directors will consider spending roughly $629,000 to study the apparently less-controversial option of installing the proposed pipeline under road rights-of-way.
But the pipeline was one of the first questions to come up at a candidates’ debate held at the Miners Foundry by the Banner Mountain Home Owners Association.
A couple dozen people came to hear incumbent Nancy Weber and challengers Alfred Scheinert and Sterling Honea.
Honea responded first.
“Why do we need to go … and tear up all these people’s land, and we don’t even know why we need all this. Who’s going to benefit from all this? Where’s (the water) going?” he asked.
Weber – an opponent of routing the pipeline across private property – responded next, saying that NID has water rights to 95 cubic feet per second of water from the South Yuba Canal, which originates at Spaulding Lake.
But NID can only capture about half of that in the Lower Cascade Canal – the irrigation ditch the pipeline would replace.
“There is a decision by the staff to bring down as much water as they can at one time by one pipeline,” she said. “We need to know where that water is going.”
A recently formed south Nevada County mutual water company will use 5 cubic feet per second, but as for the remainder, “We haven’t been given any facts about where the rest of that goes,” said Weber, adding she’s suspicious it may wind up in Placer County.
Scheinert’s suggestion was that Banner Mountain residents concerned about the pipeline choose a qualified person to act as their representative.
“He can sit down with the engineering staff as a team. They can figure out the optimal route to lay the pipeline down,” Scheinert said.
“If you people don’t want to accept his word as your representative there, then you’re not looking for a solution,” he said.
Asked if they favored abandoning the Lower Cascade Canal – a popular spot for hikers – if the pipeline is installed, all three candidates said they favor keeping canals intact and letting people hike alongside canals.
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