Irrigation Water Customers
March 29, 2021 | DROUGHT CONDITIONS PREVENT 2021 IRRIGATION SEASON
Our District is once again facing extreme drought conditions. During the March 26 Board Meeting, your North Yuba Water District Board of Directors confirmed we do not have the capacity or the means to deliver an irrigation season to you for 2021.
Why has irrigation water been sporadic since 2010?
Since 2010 it has been a real challenge to deliver a solid irrigation season to our customers. Dramatic contract changes between NYWD and South Feather Water & Power, called the "2005 Agreement", took effect in 2010, leaving virtually no water to divert from the Forbestown Ditch for irrigation purposes.
Mother Nature’s water, conveyed through Dry Creek (shown below on 3/29/21), is now your primary source for irrigation water. This year, there is not enough water flow on Dry Creek to start an irrigation season, and no hope in sight for a miracle rainy April.
What are the current water levels on Dry Creek?
Dry Creek - Detailed Water Flow Information
A flow of 4 cfs (cubic feet per second) is needed in Dry Creek for fish flows
Beyond this, NYWD needs a minimum of 12 ADDITIONAL cfs (cubic feet per second) to divert water to the irrigation intake headworks (pictured below), to start the irrigation season
Friday, 3/26/21, Dry Creek water flow measured 6 additional cfs beyond the fish flow requirement
Monday, 3/29/21, Dry Creek water flow measured 4 additional cfs beyond the fish flow requirement
What changes in the "2005 Agreement" affected NYWD irrigation water supply?
Prior to this "2005 Agreement", which took affect in 2010, South Feather Water & Power (SFWPA) was guaranteed 11 cfs (cubic feet per second) at the TOP of the Forbestown Ditch, known as "Turnout SF-14". Losses occurring as this water travelled down the 10 mile open ditch were SFWPA's responsibility. Under this arrangement, and after servicing the NYWD domestic water customers, there was enough water still controlled by NYWD to divert from the Forbestown Ditch for irrigation customers. This water, combined with Dry Creek, were the primary source for NYWD irrigation water.
Once the "2005 Agreement" took affect in 2010, it guaranteed SFWPA 11 cfs at the BOTTOM of the Forbestown Ditch, with all water losses the responsibility of NYWD now. Because the Forbestown Ditch is an open, unpiped, mainly dirt ditch, it losses up to 35% of the conveyed water over the 10 mile span. There was no longer any water of consequence to divert for NYWD irrigation customers. Dry Creek now became the primary source for NYWD irrigation water.
What is the long-term solution to return to consistent irrigation seasons?
Piping the Forbestown Ditch is the only way to counteract the devastating contract changes and keep enough water in the system to use for irrigation customers.
The Forbestown Ditch in its current state can hold a maximum of 22 cfs (cubic feet per second.) Because of the "2005 Agreement", this is just enough water to fulfill our obligation to SFWPA and to the NYWD domestic water customers. Piping the Ditch will allow us to regain water lost during conveyance.
Until the Forbestown Ditch is piped, irrigation customers will continue to be at the mercy of Mother Nature. I urge you to learn more about the Forbestown Ditch piping project and its potential to restore your irrigation season water.
VIDEO: 2018 Irrigation Ditch Repairs
In 2017, we identified locations on the Irrigation Ditches with the worst water loss. As promised, in late summer 2018, we began installing pipe at these hot-spots. A video showing one finished piped area is below. Over the past couple months, our crews have been working on about a dozen locations throughout the irrigation ditches. Piping the worst seepage locations will help us to maximize any water available in coming years.
Thank you for your patience through this process. Should you have any questions, please contact the North Yuba Water District at 530-675-2567.
Irrigation Policy Amendment (Approved 5/25/2017) to the irrigation policy fee schedule to include a customer generated call out fee. A fee of $65.00 per call during normal business hours and $170.00 per call after hours and weekends will be charged to the customers when staff investigates a customer complaint and finds that no problem exists. However, if a problem with district facilities is found no fee will be charged.