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.