Sacramento Suburban Water District and Reclamation Sign 27-Year Contract Providing Access to Wet Year Water Supplies
Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) has signed an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that helps secure surface water supplies for the District during wet years for the next 27 years, the District has announced.
The achievement, nearly two decades and countless staff hours in the making, is a critical part of the Sacramento region’s ability to manage and replenish the groundwater basin by using more surface water supplies when plentiful. The agreement is also key to fulfilling the historic Water Forum Agreement, signed by SSWD and other local water providers, which seeks to protect and nurture the Lower American River.
“The contract is a huge achievement for the District and our customers—a secure, long-term water source during average or wet years that will allow our groundwater basin to recharge—but the benefits extend far beyond that,” said SSWD General Manager Dan York. “The contract is important to SSWD’s ability to use more groundwater during a drought so that surface water is available in Folsom and the American River to support fish and wildlife when they need it most.”
The Long-Term Warren Act Contract signed by SSWD and Reclamation allows the District to use up to 29,000 acre feet of water purchased annually from Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) as long as sufficient supplies are available, which are defined as an estimated unimpaired inflow at Folsom Reservoir of greater than 1.6 million acre feet.
The contract is critical to the District’s ability to access the purchased supply because the water must flow from PCWA’s Middle Fork Project through Folsom Reservoir, which is owned and operated by Reclamation. Reclamation prepared and certified an Environmental Assessment to consider potential impacts from the contract under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“A sincere congratulations to the District and staff who have worked so long to see this contract come to fruition,” said SSWD Board President Craig Locke. “This contract represents the culmination of many years of work and investment by both SSWD’s predecessor—the Northridge Water District—and PCWA to create a means for delivering water to stabilize and sustain a healthy groundwater supply for our customers and the future.”
The District first started discussions about securing a Warren Act Contract in 1998 and began official negotiations with Reclamation in 2004. Over the years, the District secured one- or five-year Warren Act contracts with Reclamation to access the purchased water, allowing SSWD to bank approximately 210,000 acre feet of water in the groundwater basin. Doing so has been key to the North American Basin’s recovery over the past 20 years from historic lows to levels that are now stable and sustainable.
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