Dear Friends of AEL,

There is an interesting meeting coming up this week.

Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) will hold two presentations of interest to our AEL community on Thursday, October 15th beginning at 2:00 pm.  The first is the PCWA agreement for implementing agreement of the Western Placer County Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan (PCCP).

The second is an update on how climate change will impact the American River Basin and the water that we and all living things depend upon for life.

All are invited to participate and address the Board with your comments and concerns. The public will be attending the meeting by phone, dial 1-888-811-3697. The passcode is 9486022#.

The PowerPoint presentations for these two reports are available on PCWA website under “About” then “Board of Directors” then “Board Meeting Agendas.”  You can download the PDF.  If you want to hear the hear the discussion instead of attending the meeting, I am sharing the email from the Lori Young,Clerk of the Board for attending via phone.  I will be attending by phone.

Here’s the invitation from PCWA:

Good Afternoon –

The Placer County Water Agency October 15, 2020, Board meeting agenda is available at this link: Agenda

There are two ways to access the agenda by clicking on the icons on the right of the webpage.  The PDF is one document of the complete agenda packet and is 8.35 MB.  The icon under “Online Agenda” takes you to the agenda summary where you can click on each item to take you to that item’s Board report.

Thursday’s Board meeting is an in-person meeting.  The below conference line information is being provided to you as an accommodation due to COVID-19.  Please use the conference line information to access the October 15, 2:00 p.m., meeting of the PCWA Board of Directors.

Dial-in Info: +1 (888) 811-3697

Pass Code: 9486022#

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. Thank you.

Lori Young
Clerk to the Board
Placer County Water Agency
Phone: (530) 823-4492

Background:  PCWA provides water to Auburn, Colfax, Alta, the City of Lincoln, West Roseville, the Loomis Basin and Western Placer County.  PCWA has been very forthcoming with AEL (  in our discussions re: water delivery to the proposed new industrial city – Sunset Industrial Area/Placer Ranch (SAP/PR) in West Placer.  The water to serve the new community of over 78,000 residents, workers and associated manufacturing industries, retail and service establishments will come from the Hell Hole Reservoir, high in the North Fork of the American through the pumping stations at Ophir and below the American River Confluence.

During the EIR process for the SAP/PR, we were concerned about PCWA’s “will serve” letter for SAP/PR. PCWA sells water on a first come first serve basis, as supplies allow. The request to serve the vast SAP/PR project with water came during a time (4 years ago) of climate crisis.  That was when Folsom Lake was at historically low levels and Folsom residents were strictly rationing water.  Also, salmon could not be released from the Nimbus Fish Hatchery into the American River, but were instead, transported by truckload directly to the ocean.  This was because low river levels, and low releases from Folsom Reservoir caused water temperatures to rise beyond what the salmon could survive.

At the time, PCWA explained that their ability to serve a huge new development – the Sunset Area Plan and Placer Ranch Development (SAP/PR) development – was separate from Bureau of Rec’s. Folsom Lake management process that was experiencing  real-time effects of the climate crisis. As we understand it, PCWA has no responsibility or planned reserve that might be to released  to support Folsom community needs or to enhance salmon health by dropping water temperatures with upstream releases.

We asked a question at the time, and we believe it is still pertinent today. As climate changes and as drought conditions worsen, may the Governor, by executive order in times of water scarcity,  override existing PCWA water delivery agreements, including the ones affecting SAP/PR, in order to protect downstream users (City of Folsom) and salmon populations? Does PCWA reserve supplies for such eventualities? (We were also concerned to know if  the Bear/Yuba canal system which PCWA will use to deliver water to SAP/PR is adequate in size and capacity to serve 1) existing users 2)  the vast SAP/PR and the 3) City of Lincoln’s burgeoning population). PCWA has concerns about that as the EIR for the SAP/PR allows PCWA to draw from deep water wells sunk in West Placer TWICE in extreme drought years. What is PCWA’s plan if TWICE  drawing from wells is insufficient or if groundwater supplies are insufficient to meet well-draw demand? Will the deep water well draws affect farmers who also depend on well water?

We are also interested to know about the energy use and C02 generation associated with pumping (how many acre feet is undetermined) from the Auburn Pump Station, over the canyon walls and up to Ophir Pumping facility for delivery through the Bear/Yuba Canal system to West Placer, the City of Lincoln and the SAP/PR.

Finally, we will be interested to learn how our Middle Fork of the American River Canyon-ecosystem (and the ecosystem services they provide) will change as our climate changes. Should the Canyons be victims of wildfire or if our tree-cover dies and is replaced by grassland (as is predicted in less than 45 years) due to climate change, how will American River basin-wide water supplies and water quality be affected?   Do PCWA and the Bureau of Rec. collaborate on water delivery services to downstream water users and fishers?

Thank you PCWA, for inviting public participation into their processes for studying and addressing climate change impacts to our water supply and the habitat that protects it. We look forward to sharing our questions and learning from your responses.

Together we’re a stronger voice.


Leslie Warren, Chair

Alliance for Environmental Leadership

ReplyReply allForward