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PCWA Addresses PG&E Water Delivery Problem Due to Damaged Infrastructure


PCWA is currently facing a water supply delivery problem due to infrastructure damage at a PG&E facility. Damage has disrupted the water delivery from Lake Spaulding, impacting PG&E’s water deliveries from that source since March. PG&E has run into several unanticipated schedule delays that have pushed the return of service from early June to the latest report of July 30th.

Prior to this most recent notification of delay, the estimate of PG&E water available in Rollins Reservoir was sufficient to avoid interruptions to PCWA’s treated and raw water customers. PCWA is now asking all customers to reduce water use by 20%. Your actions to conserve will help us preserve our existing water supply until PG&E repairs are completed and water delivery is restored.

With the recent delay, the PG&E supply in Rollins Reservoir is expected to be depleted in mid-July under current demand projections if no conservation measures are taken. Customers who want to discuss their options to temporarily reduce or suspend raw water deliveries are encouraged to contact our Customer Services Department at (530) 823-4850 or customerservices@pcwa.net.

We encourage our customers to check back periodically for updates on the ongoing situation and any necessary actions they may need to take.

PG&E Mountain Division South Yuba Lower Map
Water flowing down PCWA's Boardman Canal
The Boardman Canal is the main artery of PCWA's raw water conveyance system. The water from PG&E’s Drum-Spaulding system flows through a series of tunnels, conduits, and lakes to reach PCWA’s canal system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is causing the outage?

PCWA is facing a water delivery problem caused by a failure in Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric system. A leak was discovered in a large pipe inside PG&E's Spaulding #1 Powerhouse. This pipe needs to be repaired, but that can only be done by forcing an “outage” to stop the flow of water through this powerhouse. The problem is that about 85% of the water we provide comes from this source.

The leaking pipe is part of PG&E’s hydroelectric system that moves water from Lake Spaulding, through a series of tunnels and conduits, into Rollins Reservoir. From here, it is delivered to PCWA’s delivery points along the Bear River Canal and to the Nevada Irrigation District (NID).

At the moment, with no ability to move water from Lake Spaulding to Rollins Reservoir, while PG&E repairs their powerhouse, PCWA and NID must rely on the water currently sitting in Rollins Reservoir to serve both Agencies’ needs.

All customers are being asked to reduce water use by 20 percent. Here are some things customers can do to help achieve this goal:

  • Reduce landscape watering (while prioritizing water for trees)
  • Stop sprinkler runoff
  • Water only early in the day
  • Fix household leaks

To help us all get through this period, untreated water customers who have not already voluntarily reduced deliveries for the season will have their orifice reduced by approximately 20 percent. We’re also continuing to ask for voluntary reductions or temporary suspension in canal water deliveries. All customers are asked to reduce water use by 20 percent.

Customers who want to discuss their options to temporarily reduce or suspend raw water deliveries are encouraged to contact our Customer Services Department at (530) 823-4850 or customerservices@pcwa.net.

Thankfully, PCWA’s proactive planning for scenarios like this play a significant role in PCWA’s ongoing effort to deliver water reliably. PCWA has backup supplies from the American River and groundwater, and interties with neighboring water providers.

So, while we have plans to make up for much of the delayed water supply, we need your help to ensure that the water currently available in Rollins Reservoir lasts through the duration of this outage.

PG&E is moving forward with a plan to partially restore water deliveries in mid-June, but full repair of the failed infrastructure isn’t expected until late fall, which means that PG&E’s water delivery constraint will persist through the hot summer months.

Update: As of May 30, 2024, PG&E provided the following statement: PG&E has informed water agencies that the earlier projected [return to service] date of June 19 for the Spaulding 1 powerhouse is now June 30.

Update: As of June 7, 2024, PG&E provided the following statement: Due to the unforeseen delays in repairs at the Spaulding 1 powerhouse, PG&E has extended the earlier restoration date of late June to late July. 

We encourage our customers to check back periodically for updates posted on our website.

The Drum-Spaulding system is the primary water supply for parts of west Placer County. This water is delivered from a historic canal system that begins at a reservoir in the Yuba watershed and meanders through Placer County.

From the time PG&E purchased the gold rush-era reservoirs on the South Yuba River in the early 1900s, until 1967, PG&E was the primary water retailer in Placer County. During that time, the Placer County region was one of the leading producers of tree fruits in the nation. The same canals that were originally used to transport water to the productive lands of the county also became part of PG&E’s Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric facilities.

In 1967, PG&E decided to exit the retail water business, and PCWA purchased its western water system with overwhelming support from voters. We did this to bring more affordable water to our customers and to ensure the water system received the best possible operation and maintenance.

Then, in 1983, PG&E sold the upper portion of their retail system, from Alta to Auburn, to PCWA. By this time, PG&E had exited the retail water business, and PCWA took over the duty to continue delivering water to the people of Placer County.

Importantly, through both of these water system sales, PG&E has been bound by long-term contracts to ensure the continued delivery of water from the Drum-Spaulding system to PCWA, in order to supply the same customers and lands historically served by PG&E.

Recent News
6/24/2024
Conservation Ahead for PCWA Customers Due to PG&E Delivery Issue

Customers served by PCWA are urged to reduce their water use to help manage an ongoing water delivery problem caused by damaged Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) facilities. PG&E has run into several unanticipated schedule delays that have pushed their return of service date from June to July 30th, more than 50 days beyond the original estimate. Read News Release...

6/13/2024
PG&E Repair Delays Worsen Water Delivery Challenges: PCWA and NID Respond

PCWA and Nevada Irrigation District (NID) have issued the following statement in response to the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) company’s recent announcement regarding further delays in repairing essential water delivery infrastructure at their Spaulding #1 Powerhouse. Initially scheduled for completion by early June. Read News Release...

4/23/2024
PCWA Asks Raw Water Customers for Voluntary Conservation Due to PG&E Water Delivery Problem

PCWA is currently facing a water delivery issue from PG&E due to infrastructure problems, and is asking raw water customers to voluntarily reduce or suspend their summer water deliveries. Damages at a PG&E facility disrupt water supply from Lake Spaulding, affecting PCWA's ability to provide water to raw water customers. The agency seeks cooperation from customers now, during the cooler months, to help mitigate the impact before the warmer months arrive. Read News Release...

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