Tuolumne Utilities District’s (TUD) request for a variance to allow more water from Pinecrest was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board with the condition that the District increase water conservation measures.
Although TUD has been instituting water conservation measures since March, due to the District’s low water supply, the State Water Resources Control Board has issued a letter that the District needs to further increase water conservation for all its water customers from voluntary to mandatory.
Water reductions have been in place at the District. TUD customers are already achieving an estimated 20% reductions in water usage and the District also has had a similar reduction in Tuolumne Main Canal withdrawls from Lyons Reservoir. “We have tightened up our efficiencies and have our ditch system running at historic low levels in an effort to further reduce our water flows to our water treatment plants. This has been an ongoing effort for all of our crews to daily regulate this complex water system,” states Pete Kampa, General Manager. At TUD’s Board meeting on Tuesday, July 24th, the Board will consider adopting Phase 3 water conservation measures in order to receive necessary water supply for the rest of the summer.
The District has forecasted that it would need water supply from Pinecrest and sent in a variance request to the State Water Resources Control Board in June. Ninety-five percent of TUD’s water supply is derived from a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for water delivered from Pinecrest Lake and Lyons Reservoir. Recently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) limited PG&E and TUD’s mid-summer access to water in Pinecrest Lake. The new State restriction requires that Pinecrest Lake be kept at a high elevation all summer until Labor Day to support recreation. The State Board last week approved a variance to allow PG&E to release an additional two feet of water to TUD from Pinecrest up to and including Labor Day.