Dear North Yuba Water District seasonal agricultural customers,
Due to ongoing drought conditions, we will not have a 2022 irrigation season.
Even though we’ve had a few storms recently, we do not have the capacity or the means to deliver an irrigation season to irrigation customers during this drought year. Here’s why:
- In order to have an irrigation season we must have water available to divert BOTH from the Forbestown Ditch and from Mother Nature through Dry Creek for a combined total of 12 CFS (cubic feet per second).
- Due to the drought, we do not have this.
- NYWD’s main conveyance system is The Forbestown Ditch, which can presently hold a maximum of 24 CFS.
It is an open ditch and loses an average of 35% of its water along the 10 miles, due to seepage.
- In 2005, the NYWD Board of Directors signed a new contract, that took effect in 2010, dramatically changing how the 24 CFS is allotted in the Forbestown Ditch. Because of this and the ongoing draught, since 2012, irrigation seasons have been extremely inconsistent.
- Prior to 2010, South Feather Water and Power (SFWPA) was contractually owed 11 CFS at the head of the Forbestown Ditch and they were responsible for the seepage and water lost along the way. This arrangement left about 4 CFS (out of 24 CFS) that NYWD diverted for irrigation purposes. When Mother Nature was good, it combined with water from Dry Creek to provide the needed 12 CFS to produce a full irrigation season most years.
- After 2010, under the new agreement, NYWD now owes SFWPA 11 CFS at the bottom of the Ditch and NYWD is accountable for all the water loss along the way, leaving virtually no water to divert from the Forbestown Ditch for irrigation purposes. Even with SFWPA’s recent offer to reduce demand by 2.0 – 4.0 cfs at the bottom of the Ditch, there is not sufficient additional Mother Nature water through Dry Creek to initiate an irrigation season.
We must work to pipe the Forbestown Ditch so we can regain the 35% of our water lost to seepage and take advantage of the additional capacity provided by the proposed 42-inch pipe. Engineering is complete on the project, but ongoing lawsuits by South Feather Water & Power Authority and a few seasonal agriculture customers, have stalled the project. The NYWD Board and the NYWD staff remain unanimously supportive of piping the Forbestown Ditch and need your support in the coming years to accomplish this goal.
Until the Ditch is piped, the only potential for an irrigation season in future years will be in extremely wet years, when Mother Nature allows.
NYWD General Manager, Jeff Maupin, is willing to discuss the details further with you, contact him at (530) 675-2567.