Union Democrat staff

Don't bleed Pinecrest dry

To the Editor:

It's time for a reality check regarding TUD's attempted water grab from Pinecrest Lake. The original lake level agreement negotiated collaboratively during the PG&E hydroelectric relicensing was set at 5,610 feet. In 2009 the State Water Board lowered that to 5,608 feet and in response to last year's dry conditions, the Board in October gave PG&E a variance to draw the lake down further to 5,606 feet. Despite that variance, TUD did not need the water due to so-called "mandatory" conservation measures, which were really not mandatory, but let's not quibble.

So here's the reality, folks. The Water Board's current recommendation of 5,606 feet would have covered TUD's needs for 2012, which had the earliest end of spill on record for Pinecrest Lake. TUD's 2010 Urban Water Management Plan estimates there's a reliable supply of water through 2035, even considering multiple dry years. TUD's Plan also estimates it will continue to lose 40 percent of its water in its leaky ditch system.

In 2008-09, the Pinecrest Permittees Association conducted major repairs on its water distribution system resulting in a 60 percent annual decrease in water use. Pinecrest uses 4,000,000 gallons less water every year than in 2007.

Pinecrest is doing its part for conservation "up the hill." Tuolumne County proved in 2012 it is capable of conserving as well. The current proposal under consideration by the Water Board gives TUD flexibility in a dry water year and would provide more flexibility if TUD takes action to reduce its 40 percent water loss. Water conservation is in everyone's future and the future is now. With conservation and water loss reduction measures, the current recommendation of 5,606 feet in a dry year is more than sufficient. TUD proved that last year.

Keri Green

Eugene, Oregon

Friends of Pinecrest