Water supply in Sierra delights NID | TheUnion.com

Water supply in Sierra delights NID

Nevada Irrigation District officials are predicting a healthy water supply for western Nevada County this year, thanks to steady snowfall in the Sierra.

“We’re in really good shape,” district Operations Manager Terry Mayfield said Tuesday.

If average precipitation levels occur through the rest of the rainy season, NID should have its normal supply of about 225,000 acre feet of water for the water year, Mayfield said.

District figures as of Feb. 4 show an average depth of 74 inches of snow at five sites in the higher elevations of the Sierra with an average water content of 28 inches. Snow levels range from 92 inches at 7,100 feet on English Mountain to 53 inches at 5,650 feet at Bowman Reservoir.

The district reservoir system can hold up to 280,000 acre feet, but 30,000 of that is committed to PG&E power operations, Mayfield said. As of Feb. 4, the district had almost 161,000 acre feet stored. That’s about 64 percent of the district’s 250,000 acre feet capacity.

In other NID news:

• The $1.4 million project to replace copper winding material at Rollins Reservoir Powerhouse’s generator will begin March 8. “It’s a huge project,” said Hydroelectric Manager Larry Richerson. The effort will take until April 30 to complete. A crew will have to break the generator down, and two cranes will be used on the project, Richerson said. Just the rotor alone in the powerhouse turbine weighs 132,000 pounds.

• Mayfield said the district paid $57,000 in new water rights fees to the state. The fees were for six months, which means the district will be asked to pay another $57,000 later this year. The fees go toward paying for the water rights division of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Northern California Water Association has filed suit to stop the fees, Mayfield said.

• The Placer County Water Agency has approved a pact with the district to supply water to the city of Lincoln prior to the building of a new treatment plant to serve district customers within the city. Language in the pact calls for the two water agencies to protect their hydroelectric and water supply assets together for the future.

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