Twain Harte hammered by drought

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Twain Harte Community Services District 9 a.m. , Thursday, THCSD conference room, 22933 Twain Harte Drive.

Tuolumne County residents are being urged to drastically cut their water use this year due to the extreme drought, but the community in the most dire situation right now is Twain Harte.

The Twain Harte Community Services District - which gets its water from Tuolumne Utilities District - is telling its roughly 1,600 customers they must halve their water usage or potentially run dry this summer.

Twain Harte's restrictions are among the toughest in the entire state, according to a list compiled by the Association of California Water Agencies. It's tied only with the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District and the Richvale Irrigation District that cut water to irrigation users by 50 percent.

The reasons are fairly straight forward: While the chief source of water, Lyons Reservoir, is now full, the snowmelt flows into the lake are expected to end far earlier than normal - May 25. The problem is compounded by federal regulations for operating upstream Pinecrest Reservoir, where water levels must be kept deep enough for recreational use until Labor Day.

Given those conditions, experts figure Lyons can only supply water to TUD's 44,000 county residents for about 65 days this summer.

"We rely pretty much solely on what's in Lyons and what's coming down the Herring Creek watershed in snowmelt during the summertime, but this year it's next to nothing and pretty much almost gone," said THCSD General Manager Tom Trott. "That's why this summer is so critical."

Twain Harte's situation is also more dire than many other communities in TUD's sphere because its customers can't meet water reduction goals through landscaping restrictions.

For the complete story, see the May 7, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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