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PCWA won’t make water cuts

March rains bring supplies back to normal
By: Staff Report
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Placer County Water Agency announced last week that normal surface water deliveries are expected in Placer County this year after a very wet month of March turned around what had been a very dry rainfall year. In a water supply update at the Apr. 5 PCWA Board of Directors meeting, Senior Engineer Tony Firenzi said that 23 inches of precipitation in the Yuba River watershed was measured at PG&E’s Lake Spaulding during March, which is 236 percent of the March average. “I guess you could say we’ve had another miracle March,” said Firenzi, referring to the so-called “Miracle March” of 1991 that produced three times average precipitation and averted what would have been a very low water year. While this year’s precipitation totals are still expected to trail the annual average, enough rain and snow have fallen to put water supplies comfortably in the normal range. This year’s dry conditions prevailed well into March and water agency officials were making plans for dry year water deliveries, including cuts to Zone 5 agricultural water users in far western Placer County. Now, Zone 5 and all other PCWA service Zone customers will receive normal surface deliveries of water this season. Other water supply indicators reported last week include an Apr. 1 seasonal total of 49.9 inches of precipitation at Lake Spaulding, or 85 percent of average for the date; and Apr. 1 snow surveys of 73 percent of average on the Yuba-Bear River watershed and 61 percent of average on the American River watershed. Mike Nichol PCWA field services director, said Agency-owned Middle Fork American River reservoirs that also supply Placer County with surface water, as well as major reservoirs around the north state are now holding above average storage for this time of year. Nichol and Firenzi noted that this year’s dry year contingency planning has given agency staff a broader understanding of relationships of precipitation, the watershed and water yields.