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TUD water woes: Nature, man create dicey outlook

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Jesse Cover, of Cover’s Apple Ranch, discusses his drought concerns. Alex MacLean / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
This is the first in a three part series examining north and central Tuolumne County’s drought crisis, how we got here and where we’re headed. Parts 2 and 3 will run the following Fridays.


 The irony of this year’s drought situation is abundantly clear at Lyons Reservoir near Sierra Village, one of two main water sources relied upon by 44,000 Tuolumne County residents.

Thousands of gallons of pristine High Sierra water each day thunder over the dam unused. Meanwhile, downstream in Twain Harte, Sonora and Jamestown, lawns brown, flower beds wilt, restaurants withhold water unless requested and toilets go unflushed.

 


Today's headlines (May 29, 2014)


Tulloch may get flood map reprieve

Hundreds of property owners along Lake Tulloch could avoid having to pay costly flood insurance following a plan to remove their parcels from inaccurate flood zone maps.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting gave Planning Director Peter Maurer permission to apply for a Tulloch-area map revision with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal agency responsible for flood response.


Clock ticks for Hatler tenants

The deadline has passed for a Jamestown landlord to pay tens of thousands of dollars in past-due sewer bills, so 15 low-income properties will likely be boarded up and tenants required to leave by early next week.

According to the Jamestown Sanitary District, Stewart Hatler has $38,000 in unpaid sewer bills for his properties around Seventh Street, Ninth Avenue and Maple Alley. Jamestown sewer officials in February set a May 28 deadline for him to pay up, threatening to shut off service on the units if he doesn’t.


TUD finally OKs water purchase

The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors approved a contract with the Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians on Tuesday that will allow the district to pump water out of New Melones Reservoir this summer.

A previous contract for the tribe to purchase up to 2,400 acre-feet of water stored in New Melones Reservoir from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, a senior water rights holder on the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River, was approved by the TUD board on March 11.

 


Today's headlines (May 28, 2014)


Davis pleads guilty to arson

The teenager accused of starting the Sonora Elementary School fire that destroyed a building in November pleaded guilty on Tuesday. 

Shahaun Lemont Davis, 17, admitted to felony arson of the building and accepted an enhancement for causing more than $1 million in damage.


Water rates to increase as drought persists

Water rates for Tuolumne Utilities District customers will go up a little over $1 per month starting July 1, but current drought-related restrictions on water use will remain the same for the time being, the Board of Directors decided Tuesday night.

During a tense meeting that lasted more than three hours, the board voted 4-1 to keep the current water-use reduction goal at 50 percent. The board also voted 3-2 for a previously approved 2.78 percent rate increase to take effect on July 1.

 


Close call in Jamestown

A vegetation fire in Jamestown burned about 2 acres of grass and threatened a structure on Tuesday. The fire was reported about 1 p.m. and threatened a warehouse behind Golden State Cellular on the 17200 block of Highway 108, near Chicken Ranch Road. Employees were evacuated and told to move their cars. The fire was fully extinguished by 8:30 p.m. Five engines, two hand crews and two water tenders responded. The fire’s cause is under investigation. 


Calaveras fair draws higher numbers

The herd grew this year at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.

This year’s fair, with a theme of “Fun for the Whole Herd,” roped in 38,000 to 40,000 people. The four-day event was held May 15 to 18 at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp.


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