Placer County Water Agency approves projects to safeguard water supply during disasters

PCWAs American River Pump Station.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Placer County Water Agency Board of Directors on Thursday allocated money for two new programs to help ensure customer water supplies are protected from both near-term and long-term disasters. Funding was approved, totaling roughly $550,000, for two important projects to enhance the region’s water supply protection during emergencies.

Of that total, the board approved designating over $300,000 is to develop an electricity-generation facility fueled by forest-thinning projects. This project arose through a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, known as the Tahoe Central Sierra California Forest Residual Aggregation Market Enhancement (CalFRAME) pilot project.

“We’re particularly excited about this innovative approach to removing these fuels because it helps to create a market for the small trees and brush cleared from area forests which will help prevent catastrophic fires,” said Board Chairman Robert Dugan. “These fires threaten water supplies in two ways: They can cause severe erosion that can damage water and power infrastructure, and they can pollute water supplies and increase treatment costs.”

The woody feedstock is sourced from projects in Tahoe portions of El Dorado, Placer and Nevada counties.

The other project for which the board approved funding of was $250,000 to begin the process for installing new backup emergency generators at PCWA’s American River and Ophir Road pump stations to ensure these two vital facilities can deliver water during power outages. These generators will double PCWA’s pumping capacity to ensure water delivery to customers during emergency power shutoff events, whether triggered by high fire risk, severe weather, or other unforeseen events.

The generators themselves will be purchased with a $2.3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained through the California Office of Emergency Services.

The board also approved the Regional Mutual Assistance Agreement with the California
Utilities Emergency Association for up to $1,000,000, enabling the Agency to access specialized
labor resources from other electrical utilities in response to utility emergencies when the
agency does not have internal personnel capabilities.

The PCWA board also heard an informational report from staff on the condition of the Eastside
Canal, followed by public comment.

The next regular meeting of the PCWA Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, August 17,
at 2 p.m. For information on PCWA board meetings, please contact the Clerk to the Board at
(530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.

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