The State Water Resources Control Board has approved a request by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that will allow Tuolumne Utilities District to draw about 600 acre-feet of water out of Pinecrest Reservoir earlier than normal this year, a board member confirmed Friday after a meeting of the Governor’s Drought Task Force in Sonora.
State Water Resources Control Board Member Steven Moore, who is also a member of the Drought Task Force, attended Friday’s closed-door meeting at the Tuolumne County Operations Center on Striker Court, where they discussed drought impacts with government leaders and water managers from Tuolumne County and several other foothill counties.
Moore said the State Water Board granted PG&E’s written request Thursday afternoon.
The ability to draw the water out of Pinecrest Reservoir before Labor Day will help alleviate some of the county’s immediate water-supply concerns, according to Tuolumne Utilities District General Manager Tom Scesa. He said the district had not received a copy of the approved request as of Friday afternoon, but he would review it and then make a recommendation to the TUD board at an upcoming meeting.
Scesa said he will likely make a recommendation to lower the district’s water-use reduction goal, a facet of the mandatory conservation orders currently in place. The current goal of 50 percent — one of the highest in the state — has forced some TUD customers to take harsh measures to reduce their monthly water usage, such as collecting excess shower water in buckets, uprooting gardens and letting their lawns die.
It has also forced wholesale customers — including Twain Harte Community Services District, which serves about 1,600 Twain Harte residents — to make do with only half as much water as they would normally purchase from TUD.
For the complete story, see the July 14, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.