SONORA, CA: As previously stated, Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) staff is closely monitoring its water supply due to the drier than normal winter season. According to Glen Nunnelley, District Associate Engineer, precipitation from this last series of storms brings the total accumulation of rainfall to about 10 inches for the Sonora area for the winter season. The average rainfall accumulation for this time of year is about 23 inches.
Precipitation and snowfall are relied upon every year to replenish the main water supply for the county with water storage at Pinecrest and Lyons Reservoirs. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG & E) owns and operates Pinecrest and Lyons Reservoirs, and the 15.7 mile Main Canal. In an agreement with PG & E, TUD receives its water supply from Lyons Reservoir through the Main Canal.
“Even with the recent storms, the current water content in the snow for our watershed is still too low, it’s only about 11 inches so far, normally we would see well over 30 inches.” states Nunnelley. This compares to the 1976-77 drought year, one of the driest year’s on record in the county, which was at about 9 inches of water content during this same time period. The concern is that there may not be enough snow runoff to fill Pinecrest Lake Reservoir this year. Snow amounts traditionally peak at about April 1st each year, so this leaves us a couple of more weeks to see if there is an increase in the snowpack. Tuolumne County historically receives about 5 inches of precipitation and snow in March.
Due to lack of precipitation, the District’s water supply is lower than average. The District is instituting voluntary water conservation (Phase II Water Conservation) measures effective immediately. We ask all our water customers to reduce water use. “There are some simple steps that our customers can do to limit their water use. One of the first steps to water conservation is to limit all outside watering and to check your drip systems and sprinkler systems for any type of leaks,” states Pete Kampa, TUD’s General Manager. “We would also like to ask the public to stay alert and to notify the District if you spot
a water leak. If you notice an unusual amount of water flowing down a street or in your neighbor’s yard, please contact us to investigate,” continues Kampa. For more water conservation information, please visit the TUD website at www.tudwater.com.
The Tuolumne Utilities District currently serves over 44,000 Tuolumne County residents. The District currently owns and operates 15 water treatment plants, 81 treated water storage tanks, two wastewater treatment plants, approximately 57 miles of open ditches and 330 miles of treated water pipeline.