Tuolumne Utilities District shut off a three-mile portion of Shaws Flat Ditch late last month as part of continued efforts to conserve water during an extremely dry year.
District General Manager Tom Scesa said the move to cut off the ditch from the south end of Chaparral Road to the district's Sonora Water Treatment Plant will save as much as 400 acre-feet of water for the rest of the year. That's enough to supply roughly 800 households.
"My goal is making sure that we have sanitation and fire protection for the entire community through January," he said. "I have to take some strong steps to make sure we have as much as possible."
However, some Sonora residents are concerned about the impact on wild animals that drink from the ditch, as well as the ponds that it feeds.
"How many critters up there are going to be looking for water? Not to mention all the trees and land around (the ditch)," said John H. Richardson, a Sonora resident and member of the city's planning commission. "It's a major environmental hit."
Jack and Kay Gleason are the only domestic account on the ditch. Their home on Cabezut Road came with a contract for half a miner's inch of water from TUD.
For the complete story, see the March 21, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.