Dianna Suarez: How did this happen with NID? | TheUnion.com

Dianna Suarez: How did this happen with NID?

I write on behalf of all citizens in our region and especially those who live on the Placer County side of Bear River within the Bear River Watershed, and would be tragically affected by NID’s proposal to dam our Bear River, destroy our homes, our lands, our park and campgrounds, our economies, our sacred places, our quality of life and our hearts.

This scheme was hatched on August 13, 2014. The record of this meeting is as covert as the Dam process has proven to be. https://nidwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Wk-Copy-of-Minutes-08-13-2014.pdf (pages 5 and 6).

At 9:57 a.m., on that date, a closed session was called at the Nevada Irrigation District Board Meeting, and the public, if there were anyone there, was removed from the room. Litigation was discussed for over half an hour. The meeting was reconvened at 10:30 a.m. for two minutes, and during this time, the NID Board passed Resolution No. 2014-43, authorizing application for the Water Rights for Diversion, Storage, and Use of Water of the Bear River, without any discussion or public involvement; and the question remains: “Was this even agendized?”

The NID board of directors went back into closed session from 10:32 a.m. until almost 11 a.m. when the NID board meeting was adjourned.

What kind of shenanigans is that?

Now, I realize that we have replaced over half of the NID board since then, and I would like the public to understand the history of this fiasco, and urge the NID board members to correct the wrong that has been done; by reconsidering this resolution, and revising the Water Rights Application Project Description.

The Water Rights Application, submitted on that same day stated, “NID is proposing to construct a new onstream storage facility. The new facility is the Centennial Dam and Reservoir. Centennial Dam will be constructed within the Bear River, approximately 8 miles downstream of the existing Rollins Dam.”

That is no longer accurate. Four and a half years later and $14 million in the hole, NID now has a “Plan for Water” in which this dam is one of a “range of alternatives” to be considered in a public process.

It is time to change the project description to reflect the range of alternatives. Groundwater storage is becoming a beneficial use of water and would be a much better proposal for the project description.

Much has changed since that shameful day in 2014. PG&E declared bankruptcy on Jan. 29 of this year. NID and PCWA formed a joint study team and according to a Feb. 20 NID news release, “After discussion with PCWA management, we both agree that it would be in our mutual best interest to begin working together in preparation for the possibility that an outcome of the PG&E bankruptcy proceedings will be the divestiture of the Drum-Spaulding Project,” said Rem Scherzinger, general manager of NID.

“Representatives on the team will study the possibility of pursuing joint and equal ownership/operation of the Drum Spaulding Project … The Yuba-Bear project and the Drum Spaulding Project consist of more than 40 interconnected reservoirs, 13 open channel conveyances, and 16 powerhouses in three watersheds,” the release states.

How will this major acquisition be addressed and analyzed in the upcoming Plan for Water?

Dianna Suarez lives in Colfax.

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