NID Reports Near Normal Water Supplies Following March Storms

Directors of the Nevada Irrigation District on Wednesday (Apr. 11) rescinded their earlier water shortage declaration and said the district would return to normal water operations this year.

The board’s action followed a staff presentation that showed the significant rain and snow during the month of March turned around what had been a very dry year.  Seasonal precipitation, snowpack water content, projected runoff and water storage are now all reported to be within normal seasonal levels.

NID Operations Supv. Sue Sindt said this season’s precipitation levels were closely tracking the record drought year of 1977 until March produced 21.86 inches of precipitation at Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.), nearly doubling the seasonal total.  Snowpack water content had reached 73 percent of average by Apr. 1.

The board’s action reverses a Mar. 14 declaration of a Stage 2 water shortage alert under which district customers were asked to voluntarily reduce water use by 10-15 percent.  The earlier action also suspended surplus water sales.

This week’s vote included a return to normal water supply operations with a goal of preserving near normal carryover water storage of 140,000-145,000 acre feet of water for 2013.

Normal irrigation water deliveries are expected through the 2012 irrigation season, which is scheduled to open Apr. 15 and run through Oct. 14.  Irrigation water customers who volunteered to reduce their seasonal water purchases will be given the option of reduced use or a return to 2011 delivery levels.

The district will accept applications for increased amounts of irrigation water, subject to continuing freezes on some canal systems because of capacity restrictions.  The board also disbanded a drought hardship citizens committee, which had been appointed but had not met.

Directors authorized purchase of 10,000 acre feet of water from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, declared that surplus water would be available this year, and authorized the sale of 10,000 acre feet of surplus water to the South Sutter Water District, which supplies farms in the Sutter-Placer county area.

In other business, NID directors:

•  adopted a resolution to add a second tier reduced benefit retirement plan for new hires that would save the district money in future years.  Current employees retire with a 2.5 percent per year of service at age 55 retirement plan;  new hires would receive a 2 percent plan.  The resolution amends the district’s contract with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS) and is expected to take effect on May 10.

• authorized staff to move forward with a plan to install fiber optic cables along the Cascade Canal bench flume between Cascade Shores and the head of the Cascade Canal on upper Deer Creek above Scotts Flat Reservoir.  The project aims to improve communication and control functions on the waterway.

• heard an announcement by General Manager Ron Nelson that NID had been selected as one of six statewide finalists for an award from the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).  Being considered is NID’s recent project to foster fish passage on Auburn Ravine Creek in Lincoln.

• voted for NID Board President and Division V Director Nick Wilcox to serve as special districts representative on the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

• welcomed new employee Caden Caldwell, who joined the NID Recreation Dept. on Mar. 26 as a Senior Customer Account Assistant.

The next regular meeting of the NID Board of Directors will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 25, at the NID Business Center on West Main Street in Grass Valley.  NID board meetings are open to the public.


Contact:  Ron Nelson

(530) 273-6185

 Or:     Dave Carter

(530) 265-NEWS