TUD to vote on drought water purchase

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors, 2 p.m. Tuesday, TUD Board Room, 18885 Nugget Blvd., Sonora.

The Tuolumne Utilities District board will vote Tuesday on a plan to purchase Stanislaus River water via the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians - one of several steps by the district needed to lessen the blow of an historic drought.

Under the agreement, the district would buy up to 2,400 acre-feet - roughly enough water to serve 4,800 homes - for $200 an acre-foot.

The price is equal to what the tribe is paying the South San Joaquin Irrigation District for the water.

SSJID serves farms and households around Escalon and Manteca and is a major water rights holder on the Stanislaus River.

The tribe arranged the purchase to aid the county and TUD.

Water experts say this is the first time in U.S. history such a water transfer has occurred between municipal water agencies and an American Indian tribe. It's also the first time TUD has purchased water from an outside entity in the agency's 22-year history.

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The Union Democrat
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