Placer County Water Agency is the primary water resource agency for Placer County, California. PCWA carries out a broad range of responsibilities including water resource planning and management, retail and wholesale supply of irrigation water and drinking water and production of hydroelectric energy in Placer County's 1,500 square mile area. Created in 1957 under its own state legislative Act entitled the “Placer County Water Agency Act,” PCWA is self-governed with policy and regulatory decisions determined by an independently elected five member Board of Directors.
Agency officials understand the complexities, interrelationships and importance to sustain reliable and affordable water and energy for Placer County’s present and future needs. (More) Agency officials understand the complexities, interrelationships and importance to sustain reliable and affordable water and energy for Placer County’s present and future needs. The Agency holds extensive “area of origin” surface water entitlements within Placer County on the Middle Fork American River. Water is sold wholesale to various water purveyors who retail it to their customers. Agency Wide activities are varied and far ranging. These include involvement in water issues affecting Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River, the American River, the Yuba/Bear Rivers, the Sacramento River and the Bay/Delta system. The Agency is actively involved in numerous collaborative partnerships, watershed stewardship, surface and groundwater management integrated water resource planning, and regional infrastructure projects. Advocacy for Agency water entitlements and energy resources for Placer County are at the forefront of Agency Wide interests and activities.
Energy Resources - The Agency’s Power System was established with the construction of the Middle Fork American River Project that began in 1963 and was completed in 1967. (More) The Agency's Power System was established with the construction of the Middle Fork American River Project, which began in 1963 and was completed in 1967. Typically referred to as the "Middle Fork Project" or "MFP", it serves as a multi-purpose water supply and hydro-generation project designed to conserve and control waters of the Middle Fork American River, the Rubicon River, and several associated tributary streams.
The MFP is located within the Middle Fork American River Watershed at elevations ranging from approximately 1,100 feet to 5,300 feet. Water for hydroelectric generation and consumptive use is diverted and stored under permits and licenses issued by the California State Water Resources Control Board. The MFP seasonally stores and releases water to meet consumptive demands within western Placer County and to generate power for the California electrical grid. Water for consumptive purposes is released from the MFP and re-diverted at two locations: (1) the American River Pump Station, located on the North Fork American River near the City of Auburn; and (2) Folsom Reservoir. PCWA’s water rights and water supply agreements currently allow for the consumptive use of up to 120,000 acre feet of MFP water per year. Consumptive water supplied by PCWA is used to meet municipal, industrial, and agricultural demands.
Hydroelectric power from the MFP is produced at five project powerhouses with a combined nameplate generating capacity of approximately 224 MW. The total annual flow through the MFP and the resulting total annual generation are highly variable. The MFP produces an average of 1,030,000 MWh annually on mean generation flows of 452,000 ac-ft. The Middle Fork Project is the eighth largest public power project in California. The MFP also provides important public recreational opportunities, including campgrounds and boating facilities as constructed by PCWA and operated through the U.S. Forest Service.
Water Resources - The Agency’s Water System was acquired in 1968. It has become the largest water purveyor in the county serving more than 38,500 water accounts in several water service areas.