Tuolumne drought still ‘emergency’

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat /

With most of Tuolumne County on stored water and the bulk of summer still to come, local government leaders are asking residents to continue to conserve.

The county Board of Supervisor on Tuesday unanimously voted to continue a local "state of emergency" declaration in response to California's ongoing drought.

Tom Scesa, manager at Tuolumne Utilities District, which delivers water to most of the county's residents, updated the board on local water supply, noting that conservation efforts are working but still needed.

"We're coasting on storage," said Scesa, noting that runoff has stopped spilling over the dams at both Pinecrest and Lyons reservoirs and the water levels are now slowly dropping.

Scesa brought some good news to the supervisors - mainly that customers with TUD have conserved more than 40 percent thus far. Scesa said TUD has been pumping water from New Melones since June and has between 30 and 60 days before the water level drops below the pipeline.

The TUD manager also talked of a promising meeting with state regulators over the Pinecrest lake level. Federal regulations require the lake remain full enough for recreational purposes through Labor Day. TUD has asked for an exemption or easing of the rule this year.

"This community's awesome, and they're doing a great job," Scesa said of efforts so far.

For the full story, see the July 2, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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