Article courtesy of NID | January 10, 2014 | Shared as educational material
GRASS VALLEY – The Nevada Irrigation District is preparing for long term dry conditions and the increasing possibility of limited water supplies in 2014.
NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger said Friday (Jan. 10) that the district is asking all water customers to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.
“Working together, we can help preserve local water supplies and be better prepared if we don’t get some rain and snow,” he said.
While NID water storage levels remain near average for this time of year, this year’s dry winter has not produced a snowpack that will refill them in spring and summer. As of Thursday (Jan. 9), district reservoirs held 146,619 acre-feet of water, which is 92 percent of average for the date but just 59 percent of capacity.
Seasonal precipitation at NID’s Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.) had reached just 8.39 inches, or 29 percent of average by Jan. 9.
In a Jan. 8 report to the NID Board of Directors, Scherzinger said district staff is planning for dry year operations. “Staff is reviewing measures that might be necessary if we have to implement our drought contingency plan,” he said. “While we are counting on our customers to voluntarily cut their use, mandatory reductions could become necessary.”
He asked members of the board to think about local citizens they may wish to appoint to a Drought Hardship Committee, which could be convened if the dry conditions continue.
NID Water Efficiency Coordinator Lesa Osterholm said the district is planning meetings with Grass Valley and Nevada City to discuss water conservation.
She asked local water users to pay special attention to water use, including basic items such as repairing leaks, reducing shower times and turning off the tap while brushing teeth. She also said that during the winter months, even when dry, little or no outdoor irrigation is needed.
“We have information and links on the NID website that will help you use your water more efficiently,” Osterholm said. See www.nidwater.com.
An update on this year’s water availability is planned at the NID Board of Directors’ Water and Hydroelectric Operations Committee meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14. The meeting is open to the public.
Scherzinger said district officials are hoping for the best but planning for the worst. The months of January, February and March – and in recent years April and May -have been among the wettest recorded in the region, so it remains possible that normal rain and snow patterns will return soon.