County water top topic on Tuesday

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m., Tuolumne County Administration Center, supervisors' chambers, fourth floor, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will take up water issues on Tuesday during the board's bi-monthly meeting.

The board is considering a move to re-engage the dormant Tuolumne County Water Agency. The board will also look to support the Tuolumne Utilities District in its effort to change a regulation setting a minimum summertime water level at Pinecrest Lake.

Supervisors put togethera special committee earlier this year to focus specifically on water issues in Tuolumne County. The committee included leaders with the county, city of Sonora, multiple water agencies and others, who met regularly to discuss long-term water issues in the county and possible solutions.

The committee found a need for a local agency outside of the current water districts to help spearhead long-term water supply strategies like securing water rights, investigating storage options, improving infrastructure and handling other tasks that go beyond water districts' purviews.

A memo attached to Tuesday's meeting lists three options for such an effort: restart the fledgling agency, handle the issues through the county Board of Supervisors and form a Joint Powers Authority.

The agenda also includes a proposal to support TUD in its effort to ease a regulation on how low the district and PG&E can lower the lake before Labor Day. The mandated minimum lake level is a new rule that came out of the federal relicensing for the dam, meant to protect recreational experience at the popular lake.

Supporters of the minimum lake level say recreation is an important economic driver for the county, and claim TUD is not doing enough to conserve water in its system. TUD and others opposed to the regulation say it will unnecessarily restrict water supply during dry years.

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

• A proposal to use almost $900,000 in one-time funds on local road projects. The proposed road projects include maintenance or reconstruction work on Woodham Carne Road, Lime Kiln Road, Bonds Flat Road, Smith Station Road, Jacksonville Road, Creekside Drive, Cabezut Road, Lyons Bald Mountain Road, Yankee Hill Road and Jackson Street.

• Multiple items that will continue the process to dismantle the county's area planning commissions and design review committees and make the design review process fall under discretionary permits. The board voted in April to consolidate the work of the area commissions, which advise on, and grant some permits for, development projects in the county.

• A year-end budget review of the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

• A report on efforts to increase volunteers for local fire protection efforts.

• A presentation on Mother Lode Job Training, a local employment program.

The Union Democrat
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