July 2021
El Dorado Water NEWStream
July Edition
Welcome to the July issue of NEWStream! The Agency has been hard at work this year, and we will continue to share news and updates about the Agency’s efforts in quarterly issues of this newsletter. If you’re on Twitter, I encourage you to follow the Agency for ongoing updates and relevant news – you can find us @EDWaterAgency. For additional information and updates on the Agency, be sure to visit our new website at www.edwateragency.org.

At our February meeting, the Board of Directors welcomed its new members, and endorsed nominations for the following appointments:

  • Chair – Lori Parlin, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors
  • First Vice Chair – David Peterson, South Tahoe Public Utility District 
  • Second Vice Chair – Wendy Thomas, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors
  • Regional Water Authority Representative – Lori Parlin, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors; Alternate: Ken Payne, EDWA General Manager
  • Mountain Counties Water Resources Association Representative – Lori Parlin, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors; Alternate: Wendy Thomas, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors

As we near the middle of 2021, I’m proud of all that the Agency has already accomplished this year, and excited about its plans for the future. That said, there are still many challenges ahead for water resources planning and management. The Agency is poised to work regionally to find efficient and effective solutions. Along with my fellow Board members, I look forward to advancing the Agency’s commitment to securing water supplies for El Dorado County, and to representing the water interests of the County and the surrounding region. 

Update on Fallen Leaf Lake Small Water Systems Project 
The Fallen Leaf Lake Water Systems Project recently completed an initial evaluation of several small community water systems around Fallen Leaf Lake. The evaluation focused on infrastructure and operation concerns of the local water purveyors and users related to potable water supply reliability and fire protection. Many components of the existing water systems are close to 100 years old and failing, the communities are adjacent to the infamous Angora Ridge Fire and facing similar catastrophic wildfire threats, and Fallen Leaf Lake is environmentally unique and supporting recovery efforts to bring back the Endangered Species Act-listed Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
The evaluation project encompasses the four main water purveyors that serve the area around Fallen Leaf Lake: Fallen Leaf Mutual Water Company, Fallen Leaf Lake Mutual Water Company, Stanford Sierra Camp, and Fallen Leaf Lake Community Services District that provides area fire protection. Also a part of the evaluation are some micro water systems serving small housing tracts on public lands that are adjacent to the four main water purveyors. The evaluation is addressing the limitations and challenges for upgrading these water systems, which include aging infrastructure, terrain, limited water storage, and the improvements needed in flows and capacity to meet today’s water quality and fire flow requirements.
The initial report summarizes and describes the water systems, existing operations, system deficiencies, recommended system improvements, and preliminary cost estimates for completing recommended improvements. We will continue to work with the local purveyors and other stakeholders in the coming year to prioritize improvement projects and pursue potential funding opportunities.
Irrigation Management Services Program
Continues for 2021 Growing Season
In alignment with our mission to ensure that El Dorado County has adequate water for today and in the future, the primary goal of our Irrigation Management Services (IMS) Program is to contribute to agricultural water conservation on the West Slope of the County. These efforts support water conservation and extend water supplies, while ensuring the beneficial use of existing and future water supplies in accordance with state water supply and quality regulations. The IMS Program has provided partial funding for soil moisture monitoring and reporting services on a site-specific basis to eligible agricultural growers since 2001.

At our March meeting, our Board of Directors approved cost-share funding for the continuation of the IMS Program for the 2021 growing season. The Program continues to be an extremely important tool in demonstrating the County’s efficient use of agricultural water supplies, and is an adopted best management practice for meeting the state’s water quality regulations. The Program is especially critical this year, in the midst of ongoing drought, to assist growers that rely on wells that have not been sufficiently recharged in several years.
Annual Progress Report for West Slope SWRP Implementation  
We continue to work in partnership with El Dorado County and the City of Placerville to implement elements of the 2018 West Slope Stormwater Resource Plan (SWRP). The 2020 Annual Progress Report highlights many accomplishments during the third year of its implementation, including the following:
  • Submitted the SWRP self-certification checklist for the West Slope SWRP, which is the final step required by the State Water Resources Control Board to verify that the California Water Code and SWRP Guidelines requirements are properly addressed in the Plan.
  • Initiated a feasibility study for the El Dorado County Fairgrounds Drainage Improvements Project, being funded by a cost-sharing agreement, to explore alternatives to improve drainage issues at the Fairgrounds.
  • Pursued funding for shovel-ready stormwater projects from the West Slope SWRP through the Federal Stimulus Package developed for COVID-19 relief.
  • Began development of the West Slope El Dorado County Stormwater Quality and Best Management Practice Design Manual.
  • The County continued construction of the new Headington Yard Wash Rack which, once completed, will result in a zero-discharge cleaning facility of County-owned vehicles.
  • Continued project scoping and secured funding for the City of Placerville Cedar Ravine Road Drainage Improvement Project, which will help improve water quality by restoring natural water drainage and filtration in the area.
One of our collaborative objectives is to prepare these projects for state or federal funding that may arise to address infrastructure needs throughout the state and county.