Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Selling River Water

In what will be a continuing issue, claims on the water from the American River will accelerate, reducing optimal salmon habitat and Parkway recreational value.

El Dorado seeks one-time purchase of capital water
By Cathy Locke - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In a move to provide El Dorado County with a degree of drought protection, the El Dorado Water and Power Authority will seek a one-time purchase of water from the city of Sacramento.

The move is not related to a more ambitious plan to gain more American River water from the city, either by long-term purchase or by law.

The proposed purchase of 15,000 acre-feet would benefit El Dorado Irrigation District customers. Under a 2005 "cooperation agreement" between the water and power authority and Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the irrigation district may use reservoirs in SMUD's Upper American River Project to store up to 15,000 acre-feet as a hedge against drought.

An acre-foot is the amount of water that will cover an area of 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot. Average homes in the El Dorado Irrigation District use between 0.58 and 0.80 acre-feet of water annually.

With water remaining in district reservoirs from last year, the agency will have adequate supplies this year, said district director George Osborne. But a second dry winter could result in water shortages in 2008.