Placer Water Has 2014 Supply Concerns

The Placer County Water Agency is saying that a good rainfall year is needed in 2014 to restock mountain reservoirs.

And the Water Agency is already looking at the possibility of water-use reductions.

The Auburn-based agency is expressing concerns as a very dry 2013 draws to a close. Tony Firenzi, deputy director of technical services, said a dry 2014 could cause problems.

“Right now, our water storage is at 90 percent of average for this time of year, so we’re in good shape for the time being,” Firenzi said, “but we’re very concerned about the continuing dry forecasts.”

Looking into the coming year’s projections, Firenzi said better-than-average precipitation would be needed to restore average storage levels on the upper Yuba-Bear and American river watersheds. Placer Water depends on the two watersheds for its surface water supplies.

Water storage in reservoirs that serve Water Agency customers has remained at or near average levels despite back-to-back unusual water years. The 2011-12 water year (measured from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) was dry but ended near average after the so-called “Miracle March” in spring 2012. It was followed by a 2012-13 water year that produced near record precipitation in November and December 2012 but then turned unusually dry.

“In fact, the 2013 calendar year is on track to close as one of the driest ever measured, which is the basis for serious concern as we look ahead at water availability for 2014,” Firenzi said.

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