By MIKE JENSEN
Water is expected to again flow to Tuolumne County residents below Lyons Reservoir by Friday.
But Tuolumne Utilities District officials are citing the outage, resulting from a damaged PG&E flume, as an example of why a portion of the canal and flume water should be piped.
The outage was caused when a boulder rolled down the South Fork Stanislaus River canyon Tuesday night, breaking the flumes support beam. The break happened about three-quarters of a mile below Lyons. PG&E shut off water from going down the flume until repairs could be made.
The canal and flume supply water to Tuolumne Utilities District, several private water companies and residents taking water directly from the open ditches flowing throughout the county.
PG&E spent Wednesday and was to spend today repairing a 32-foot section of flume. The utility reported this morning the damage was much less significant than first thought.
If all goes well, well probably have water going down the ditch tomorrow morning, PG&E Supervisor Scott Fee said today.
TUD is still urging water users below the main canal to conserve water until the repair is completed.
Anything can happen, said TUD General Manager Tim McCullough.
Meanwhile, TUD officials point to the outage as reason to pipe a portion of the water flowing through the main canal.
Thats what this is all about, said McCullough.
TUD Directors Glenn Carroll and Louise Giersch often at odds with each other both agreed with McCullough.
That incident really puts that up there in terms of concern, said Carroll. Id like to see something moving on it.
San Rafael-based consultant John Christensen has told the district a five-mile pipeline could be constructed under an old railroad grade between Lyons Reservoir and Twain Harte at a cost of $6.7 million.
The pipe would divert 38 percent of the canals water for drinking, while the remaining water would continue to flow through the canal.