November 2021
El Dorado Water NEWStream
November Edition
On behalf of the EDWA staff and Board of Directors, our thoughts remain with all of those who have been impacted by the Caldor Fire. We know that the fire has had significant economic, environmental, and social effects on our County’s rural communities and watersheds.

The community of Grizzly Flats was devastated by the fire, with unimaginable damage to many structures, homes, and its water system infrastructure. At its August 27 meeting, the Grizzly Flats Community Services District (GFCSD) Board of Directors declared an emergency for the Caldor Fire. The District’s water system assessments and repairs are ongoing, and will likely continue for the next several months. To assist the GFCSD staff in addressing the many challenges it is likely to face on its road to recovery, at its September 9 meeting, the EDWA Board of Directors also approved additional management and advocacy support for GFCSD.

The El Dorado Irrigation District and South Tahoe Public Utility District sustained damage to their communities and water systems as a result of the Caldor Fire, as well. EDWA staff continues to work with the County and the small, rural water entities to support their ongoing damage assessments and recovery efforts, including the pursuit of funding to assist with necessary water system repairs and replacement. 

Public Comment Period Concludes for
Draft Regional Drought Contingency Plan
On September 13, 2021, EDWA released the Public Draft Upper American River Basin Regional Drought Contingency Plan (UARB RDCP) for a 30-day public comment period. The UARB RDCP is a collaborative planning effort to build long-term resiliency to drought for the western foothill area (West Slope) of El Dorado County.

EDWA facilitated the development of the plan in partnership with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, through a WaterSMART Drought Response Program grant. Plan development also included close collaboration with public water agencies, tribes, land use authorities, resource managers, and other interested parties. The UARB RDCP supports the resource management strategies of our 2019 Water Resources Development and Management Plan (WRDMP) by improving drought preparedness and response, and promotes the objectives of the County of El Dorado’s adopted General Plan (2004) to encourage a strong economy while preserving the rural-agricultural way of life in El Dorado County.
The comment period for the Public Draft UARB RDCP closed on October 13, 2021. For more information, and to view the plan, please visit our website.  

Agency Receives WaterSMART Drought Response Program Grant 
We have been awarded a $300,000 grant from the United States Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency Projects. Our proposed project, “An Intelligent Hydroclimatic Information System for Water and Power Management in the American River Basin,” was one of 18 selected projects in the Western United States. This project will provide critical real-time data and support water supply forecasting needed to help the region better prepare for, identify, and respond to drought.

The project will upgrade two of 12 sensor clusters with new technology in the existing American River Basin Hydrologic Observatory wireless sensor network, install a dedicated system to gather and process real-time hydrologic data transmitted from the sensors via satellite, and develop an online, publicly accessible water supply conditions dashboard to display the spatially representative data collected from the sensors. We estimate that the improved data reporting will increase the forecast reliability and availability of up to 18,000 acre-feet of runoff in a typical water year from the American River Basin.

As part of our ongoing commitment to support and collaborate with other organizations for water resource-related planning, this project is in partnership with the University of California (UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute), as well as an active working group of stakeholders, to include the California Department of Water Resources, El Dorado Irrigation District, El Dorado Resource Conservation District, Georgetown Divide Public Utility District, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CA-NV River Forecasting Center, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, State Water Resources Control Board, and Tahoe National Forest. 

“This project lays the groundwork needed for our region to better prepare for, evaluate the severity of, and respond to future droughts. The next-generation data provided by the network will be a vital upgrade in predicting runoff and thus water supply, which is of increasing importance to support decision making as water demand increases while temperatures warm and the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada decreases.”
-       Dr. Roger Bales, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at UC Merced, and Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley
Agency to Host Second Countywide Plenary for Water
Due to the Caldor Fire, the next convening of the Countywide Plenary for Water that was scheduled for October will be delayed to next quarter. This plenary brings together water stakeholders and thought leaders from throughout El Dorado County and the region to focus on partnerships and collaboration on water resources development and management. The format of the next meeting will be divided into two 90-minute sessions, with one focused primarily on water security, and the other focused on watersheds. Confirmed keynote speakers for the sessions include Charlene Carveth, El Dorado County Agriculture Commissioner; Kyle Zimbelman, Economic and Business Relations Manager for El Dorado County; and Grant Davids, Principal Engineer at Davids Engineering, Inc. For more information on the Plenary, or to register to attend, please
check our website.