Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Drought And Emergency Water Supply Information Update for April 16, 2015
Merced River below Lake McSwain
April 18, 2015 - As of April 16, 2015 the water surface elevation of Lake McClure is 612.75 above sea level, with 96,550 acre feet (AF) of water storage. Due to a short period of high inflow into the lake, the surface elevation is increasing approximately 1/3 foot per day, or 500 AF of additional water stored per day. Based on weather predictions, we expect the lake to start dropping by May 1, so current estimates predict that our water pumps will be serviceable through early October 2015. This is excellent news as we hope the weather will be cooler and rainy by that time.
Unfortunately, the national weather folks are not predicting a wet year for 2015/16. In fact, the predictions are for warming temperatures, continued drought and rains occurring in a “monsoonal” fashion; warm and heavy. We are now planning for an additional dry year; water supply wise.
MID has submitted a petition to State Water Board (SWRCB) to reduce reservoir outflow and allow LDPCSD to continue diverting water below minimum pool of 115,000 acre feet. We are hopeful for SWRCB approval in one to two weeks.
Progress on groundwater well development is proceeding on schedule, with well pump testing scheduled for Well #3 on April 22nd, and Well #2 development and pump testing during the week of April 27. The two to three new wells are still slated to be on line and functional by June/July 2015. We continue to evaluate other longer term options such as developing a temporary pool of water in the location of the emergency floating pumps and using lake inflow to feed the pumps; and the construction of a deep water intake, which is the best solution but most costly at $6.5 million.
Following are important facts related to our water supply:
1. Nearly all of our water currently comes from Lake McClure, and its water surface elevation could drop below even our emergency pumps in September 2015 if this serious drought continues
2. We have an aggressive plan to keep us from running out of water and we are receiving much state assistance in getting there; including $462,000 in grants to date with more potentially in the queue
3. We are actively developing additional water supply by drilling enough groundwater wells to meet the water needs of our community this spring and summer. 50% conservation will be needed from our customers for the wells to meet summer water needs. 50% water conservation is mandatory and all customers must reduce water use to the maximum extent possible to make sure we have plenty of water this spring and summer.
4. For us to “run out” of water, three very unlikely events would need to occur simultaneously:
a. The drought continued and/or worsened, and
b. Adequate groundwater could not be found, or the wells we drilled run out of water, and
c. The State Water Resources Control Board does not approve MID requests to reduce “fish” flows out of the reservoir.
In case of an outage, an emergency operations center would be opened and all residents would receive adequate bottled or bulk water until the lake came back up over our pumps. We may also truck in as much water as possible to run through our treatment plant and keep some water in the tanks. Trucking water is very expensive and cannot be sustained for long.
A plan is in place, we don’t expect to run out of water, but we need the help of our customers in conserving as much as they can! Thank you.