To ensure an adequate water supply, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is making arrangements to purchase supplemental water from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
The importance of finding additional water supplies continues to increase as drought intensifies. Based on an analysis and forecasts, the purchase of supplemental water is necessary to safeguard public health and safety supplies in the event that the 2021/2022 winter is dry. The intent of the purchase is to bolster carryover storage heading into the 2022 water year.
The District’s Board of Directors approved a budget amendment of $600,000 for the purchase during its May 26 meeting. The action will enable NID to purchase nearly 16,000 acre-feet of water from PG&E throughout the summer.
Chip Close, NID’s Operations Manager, detailed the water conditions during Wednesday’s meeting. Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Lake was only 51 percent of average, at 33.95 inches. The forecasted carryover storage could drop to 106,700 acre-feet. It’s a level not seen since 2001.
As a result of grim precipitation and a runoff that has tapered off, reservoir storage is affected. It is currently the third driest year that NID has experienced since 1900: “The outlook for carryover storage is bleak,” Close said.
The funds for the PG&E purchases are being transferred from three departments: Operations ($70,000), Recreation ($200,000) and Engineering ($350,000). Each department has found ways to accommodate the transfers with no impact to water delivery to customers or District projects.
For example, the Recreation Department was able to transfer $200,000 by withholding the purchase of a generator for the Scotts Flat Campground. The transfer of funds will be offset by a donation of a repurposed generator from the water division.