On June 3, 2015 Frayji Design Group Inc., a land surveying company in lincoln, attended the City Of Lincoln Council Special Meeting with the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and Placer County Water Agency (PCWA). As Lincoln prepares for expansion, the water resources of the area will need to be managed effectively in order to meet future demands. Water resource management is complicated by the fact that the City receives water from two different water districts.
The City desires multiple sources of water to increase reliability and redundancy. In the long term, the City needs both sources of water, especially since the district territories split the City. Establishing future water sources are two separate processes and should be considered somewhat independently. They also have different constraints – NID can speed up or slow down the process in response to market conditions and the desire of the City to move forward. PCWA has some capacity, but existing and future capacity is based on a first come, first served basis.
The City is taking some steps to handle this convoluted situation. The City Manager requested in a monthly letter to the City Council that they provide a regular water accounting update. This would also show the capacity in the system and current usage, with trends, for water and sewer. Given plans for the General Plan buildout, several questions were raised regarding water resource availability. The City staff believes that the General plan eventually needs 35 acre-feet and perhaps 10 acre-feet are in place today, although there was uncertainty. The additional information was completely unknown. The City desires for developers to forecast building estimates to allow for better predictions. The hope is to engage with developers. Frayji Design Group, Inc., land surveyor in lincoln, is an integral part of the process of predicting future water use. By bringing integrative and innovative planning to projects within the City, Frayji Design Group, Inc. has aided in this effort. Despite these plans, there are challenges not only to funding, but also on how and when the capacity should be obtained and through what funding means. The decisions for NID and PCWA need to be separately considered.
Representatives from NID presented on their roles and plans for the future.
Nevada Irrigation District Presentation
NID has a multi-county jurisdiction which covers portions of the present City of Lincoln. In the City vicinity, NID only has capacity to serve raw water presently, but is hoping to provide treated water in the future. About 3400 homes are served with treated water in the City of Lincoln utilizing transfer and treatment through the PCWA Foothill Treatment Plant.
NID source water is in the Sierra Nevada at a series of high elevation reservoirs as well as additional storage in mid-elevation reservoirs. NID has ability to release water to either Deer Creek or Bear Creek. The current drought has strained the system, but NID confirms that the supply of water is 100% available.
While all the water rights are secure, there is always a potential issue. Water Rights are licenses issued by the State – the State can potentially alter these. Storage, though, is “king.” That water is guaranteed. There is concern about the reduced snowfall and the earlier melting of snowpack as a trend of global climate change. The snowpack is treated as a 125,000 acre-feet reservoir. The existing reservoirs do not have needed capacity if the snowpack “reservoir” is not available. To better capture water in the system for early snowmelt, the Parker Project is being aggressively pursued again. Located on the Bear River near Alta Sierra, the project would store up to 110,000 acre-feet of new storage. The land is already owned by NID.
NID does not sell water outside of the District. They cannot because there are legal barriers. Additionally, there is no real ability to transfer substantial amounts of water outside of the boundaries interagency, except some to PCWA.
There is also the planned Regional Water Supply Project. It consists of a 40 MGD Plant, with the potential to build in 10 MGD phases. The total cost of this project is $300,000,000. Supply water corresponds with 16,700 Acre-feet. 75% of this supply was allocated to the City of Lincoln, and 25% to others. A draft EIR is being prepared and has been received by NID and in partial form by the City of Lincoln. The draft will soon be available to the public. NID and Lincoln are pursuing this project cooperatively. The contract has several “decision points” along the process, such as after preparation of the environmental documents and after preparation of design. This allows either party to slow or halt the process as needed or appropriate. Specifics associated with the identified phases are being modified as new parameters come into play – there will be reduced piping needs in the initial phase based upon the closure of a wastewater treatment plan that previously needed to be piped around in first phase. If the EIR was complete and certified, this plant could be built 4-5 years later.