July 2022

El Dorado Water NEWStream

July Edition

Agency Leads Post-Caldor Fire Watershed Restoration Efforts to Ensure Grizzly Flats Community Has a Reliable Water Supply


We are pleased to announce that the Agency, in partnership with the El Dorado and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts (RCD), was awarded a $1,875,000 WaterSMART grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to ensure the Grizzly Flats community has a safe and reliable water supply.


In addition to demolishing homes and structures in Grizzly Flats, the Caldor Fire destroyed two water supply intakes and the surrounding watersheds which provide the community’s sole water supply. Through this grant funding, the Agency and RCD will work to provide near- and long-term support by reversing the ecological, economic, environmental, aesthetic and social impacts of this federally declared disaster.


The WaterSMART grant funding will support the Agency’s and the RCD’s recovery efforts to re-establish a healthy forest, improve water quality, support wildlife habitat, lower water supply system maintenance costs, and reduce long-term levels of hazardous fuels. 


“Without actions to recover these watersheds, water supply reliability for the Grizzly Flats community would remain at risk,” said George Turnboo, Agency Board member and County Board for District 2, where the Caldor Fire occurred. “We’re thrilled that the federal government has invested in these restoration efforts, and we can help the struggling Grizzly Flats community recover from the Caldor Fire.”


The RCD will serve as Project Manager, building on the organization’s extensive experience from the 2014 King Fire that burned 97,000 acres in El Dorado County.


“This is an important project that will integrate restoration and recovery work at the local, state, and federal levels,” said Mark Egbert, District Manager of the RCD. “This strategic watershed restoration project will involve extensive collaboration with a variety of agencies, including the Grizzly Flats Community Services District, U.S. Forest Service, El Dorado County Fire Recovery Team, American River Conservancy, and more.”


For more information about the post-Caldor Fire watershed restoration project, please visit our website.

Efforts Underway to Ensure Resiliency of Small Water Systems

in El Dorado County 

There are many parts of El Dorado County that are particularly vulnerable during a drought, including small rural communities, and we are working to ensure they are protected as part of the Agency’s countywide water resource development and management efforts.


“We recognize the importance of drought planning and water shortage preparedness, and we are working to ensure that all water users in the County have adequate and affordable water so that we can collectively maintain economic prosperity, protect the environment, and support the

rural-agriculture way of life,” said Agency General Manager Ken Payne.


Part of these efforts include meeting legislative and regulatory requirements such as those set forth by Senate Bill (SB) 552, that was signed into law in September 2021. SB 552 includes new responsibilities and requirements at both the state and local levels to help small water suppliers and rural communities reduce their risk of inadequate water supply during a water shortage event.


At the request of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, we are working with the County’s Environmental Management Department (EMD) and the County Public Health Officer to meet SB 552 requirements and pursue needed water resilience for all small water suppliers and domestic wells that are not served by large water purveyors.


In June, we established a Task Force that included members from the County EMD, Public Health Officer, Office of Emergency Services, as well as representatives of small water suppliers, schools, and domestic wells. We are also working with the California Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board to be a conduit and voice for the El Dorado County and mountain regions on SB 552 implementation.


To support the County Drought Plan development, we initiated a study to assess the condition of small water systems and domestic wells to better understand their vulnerabilities and identify options for and barriers to improving their drought resilience. We are conducting outreach to small water systems and domestic wells this summer and will be exploring opportunities for federal and state assistance to help with implementation, infrastructure improvements, and emergency response actions to ensure adequate water supply.


We will be sharing more information on this project in the coming months, and the Primer for SB 552 that was developed by DWR and the State Water Board can be found here.