Friday, November 04, 2005

Water Supply, Folsom

As this article from today’s Bee notes, the continued, growth-driven search for water supply will intensify, and each successful search will diminish the reliability, and optimal conditions, of the water supply for the salmon and the Parkway.

In a strategic sense, we need to seek solutions satisfying both, as both are inevitable and necessary.

Growth is inevitable because this is a delightful place to live, which many are discovering, and that will continue.

The Parkway is necessary, with the salmon in its heart, and will become even more so as development increases.

Folsom chasing water supply
The city is eager to expand south of Highway 50 but first must find a permanent source of billions more gallons a year.
By Jim Downing -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PST Friday, November 4, 2005

Folsom is thirsty.

To expand south of Highway 50, the city needs to find a permanent supply of as much as 10,000 acre-feet of water - 3.3 billion gallons a year.

But all the water in the American River - from which the city draws its entire supply - already is spoken for.

So Folsom is courting water agencies near and far in search of a new source that would pave the way for nearly 15,000 homes in a 3,600-acre area south of the freeway.

"We'll take what we can get," Folsom Utilities Director Ken Payne said.

Water managers from neighboring districts seem ready to work with Folsom on identifying a new water source.

Trouble is, there's not much to go around.

Even a relatively flush local supplier like the Placer County Water Agency - which often sells water in dry years - isn't looking to unload any permanent supply.

"We're not planning on making any long-term commitments to anybody outside Placer County," said county water agency director Einar Maisch.

So, Folsom also is looking beyond the American River to the Sacramento River.

Payne said he has spoken with officials of the Natomas Central Mutual Water Co., which holds rights to 120,200 acre-feet of Sacramento River water. The company historically has supplied water to farmers in northern Sacramento County and southern Sutter County.

Neither Payne nor company general manager Dan Peterson would comment on the substance of their talks.

Even if Folsom does secure a permanent supply of Sacramento River water, getting water flowing into pipes south of Highway 50 promises to be a challenge.

Building a direct pipeline to carry Sacramento River water uphill to Folsom likely would be impractical.

But a third party with pipes to both the Sacramento and American rivers could be the intermediary in a trade that would send more water to Folsom.