The Georgetown Gazette
Georgetown Divide Public Utility District
The Board of Directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District held its first meeting of 2023 Jan. 10, led by new Board President Mitch MacDonald.
General Manager Nicholas Schneider reported recent storms have allowed the district to fulfill obligations in the refill agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation related to the temporary water transfer of 2,000 acre-feet to the Westlands Water District. A water transfer is a voluntary sale of water proposed and initiated by willing sellers who have legal rights to a supply of water to an interested buyer.
This water transfer sale agreement was approved by the board May 12, 2020, at a market price of $350 per acre-foot for a gross revenue of $700,000. With the consulting cost of $76,800 and associated legal counsel fees, the net revenue for the district is $623,200. This revenue was utilized to offset capital improvement plan costs for the district, this included, in part, the lining of canals and tank recoating. Due to this transfer the cost for these projects did not have to be paid for out of the district’s general budget fund. The district was able to utilize the excess water in Stumpy Meadows Reservoir to help reduce potential future financial burdens on the Divide community.
In order for the district to replace the 2,000 acre-feet sold, the conditions in the Delta needed to be in excess and the American River had to be releasing flood water through Folsom Dam. Schneider reported it was confirmed by the Department of Water Resources the Delta reached excess conditions on Jan. 1 and the dam has been releasing flood water since Dec. 27. Operations Manager Adam Brown confirmed that Stumpy Meadows Reservoir is at full capacity and began spilling late Dec. 31.
“Given the public concern about the 2020 board’s action to approve the water transfer and the numerous inquiries that followed, it is a relief that the refill obligation has been met,” MacDonald said. “A community workshop and forum will be held in the future to educate the public and respond to the customer questions about the water sale/transfer process.”
During the December meeting directors authorized the general manager to issue a request for proposals for a consultant to develop a water transfer policy to guide future water transfer opportunities. A professional services agreement is expected to come before the board for approval at the February meeting. This will ensure district leadership and the community have a clear understanding should a water transfer happen in the future. It will also set up more favorable language to ensure no harm to the district.
Field work demand has increased due to the storms, Brown reported. District crews have responded to breaks, meter repair/replacement and numerous after-hours call-outs. GDPUD personnel has also been busy ensuring waste gates are open so water has a place to go and limit blockages in the system.
With the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, staff is documenting required field work that will be necessary to complete following the series of storms. A preliminary damage assessment has been submitted to California Office of Emergency Services for potential funding reimbursements.
The board took the following additional actions:
The board adopted Ordinance 2023-01 on theft of water and tampering with district facilities. A public hearing was held on Ordinance 2023-01 to amend and replace Ordinance 2015-02. Recently enacted state law authorized water agencies to set administrative procedures for imposing, enforcing, collecting and reviewing administrative fines or penalties for water theft and establish a process for granting hardship water to reduce the amount of the fine. The adopted Ordinance 2023-01 is posted at gd-pud.org and is available for public review at the district office located at 6425 Main St., in Georgetown.
The district received comments from the state to correct sections of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan. Brown presented the corrections to the board and described the public comment process prior to the submittal of the updated plan.
The following revisions to the plan were necessitated by 2022 events, including drought conditions and the Mosquito Fire:
• Stumpy Meadows Reservoir’s capacity was increased to 21,206 acre-feet.
“Persons per household” was revised to 2.53 based on the 2020 Census.
• The Water Shortage Contingency Plan – Fire Mitigation addresses Georgetown Divide fire severity and use of the board’s discretion.
The public hearing is set for the March 14 board meeting, with the adoption of the plan expected during the same board meeting. The submitted 2020 UWMP is posted on the district’s website gd-pud.org.
Approved cost for Sweetwater Treatment Plant valve mitigation. The Sweetwater Treatment Plant, a three million gallon per day facility, was commissioned Aug. 1, 2019, following a two-year construction period. The facility provides treated drinking water to nearly half of the district’s customers within the communities of Greenwood, Cool and Pilot Hill. Pressure fluctuations in the system were identified and staff recommended the solution was to install pump control valves. The board approved staff’s recommendation to adjust the 2022-23 capital improvement plan budget for the cost of the pump control valves from $80,000 to $130,000.
The next regular meeting of the GDPUD Board of Directors is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at 2 p.m.