GCSD drought: State aid is sought

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

SPECIAL MEETING: Groveland Community Services District Board of Directors, today, 1 p.m., District Office, 18966 Ferretti Road.

The Groveland Community Services District board was scheduled to hold a special meeting today to declare a drought-related "state of emergency."

To continue providing water to 3,300 Groveland residents, GCSD needs nearly $1.7 million for a project that must be completed in November. District General Manager Jon Sterling said the declaration is intended to reaffirm the current emergency situation.

"July 1 is coming up pretty quick and that gives us four months to get the equipment ordered, manufactured, delivered and installed," he said. "We are now on a critical time path."

The district gets water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir under a contract with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which also provides water to more than 2 million Bay Area residents.

SFPUC officials reported earlier this week that Hetch Hetchy was only about 65 percent of its maximum capacity. In addition, Bay Area residents are not meeting the voluntary 10-percent cutback SFPUC has been urging since late-January.

SFPUC is pursuing a $10 million project to repair the Lower Cherry Aqueduct that was damaged in last year's Rim Fire. The aqueduct would shore up the SFPUC's supply next year by drawing additional water from Cherry Lake.

However, Cherry Lake water contains high levels of sediment that can't be removed through the treatment processes available at GCSD's plants.

The $1.7 million the district is seeking in state and federal grants will pay for installing a filtration system by the time SFPUC starts pulling water from Cherry Lake in late-winter.

Sterling said he expects to hear back from the California Public Health Department "any day now" regarding the status of a $500,000 grant application. The district is also seeking $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $680,000 through the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.

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The Union Democrat
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