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The Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors today voted to extend a water transfer agreement with Contra Costa Water District and East Bay Municipal Utility District to potentially sell up to 10,000 acre-feet of water or more, if conditions allow, during the spring and summer of 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Under the framework of the Lower Yuba River Accord, this agreement applies to water that is already being released into the Yuba River to benefit fish, but under the right water conditions, a portion of it could be sold to others in the state who need it, with the revenue from that transfer benefitting the people of Yuba County.
“The agreement does not impact the amount of water that local irrigators and fisheries will receive on the lower Yuba River,” explained Yuba Water General Manager Willie Whittlesey, “It simply changes where a relatively small portion of the water that we are already releasing goes once it reaches the confluence of the lower Yuba and Feather rivers, so that it can benefit others in the state who are dealing with this extreme drought. It also directly benefits Yuba County by potentially providing additional revenue for flood risk reduction, water supply and other projects related to our missions.”
The water transfer is consistent with executive orders and a proclamation of a drought state of emergency by Governor Newsom that encourage local agencies to voluntarily coordinate their use of available water supplies to protect public health during extreme drought.
Water transfers are a key element of the Lower Yuba River Accord, a collaborative, multi-party water management agreement that includes Yuba Water, local, state and federal agencies and non-government organizations. The agreement allows water that is already being released into the Yuba River to benefit fish to potentially be sold to others in the state who need it. Yuba Water then uses the revenue from those transfers for projects that directly benefit Yuba County. Payments for the potential water transfers will reflect market rates agreed to by the parties.
Before the agreement can be executed each year, the State Water Resources Control Board must review and take administrative action, as well.