Local Group’s Legal Challenge to Main Ditch Water Quality and Conservation Project Denied

by Placerville Newswire / Apr 08, 2020 / comments

[Jesse Saich]

Placerville, Calif. — Last year, a Pollock Pines-based group filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) from piping a section of its vital raw water conveyance system under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

On March 27, the lawsuit was denied by the El Dorado County Superior Court.

“The District is pleased that this CEQA challenge was denied,” said EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie. “This piping project will provide a benefit to all our customers and we look forward to completing it.”

The open and unlined Upper Main Ditch conveys raw water approximately three miles from Forebay Reservoir in Pollock Pines to EID’s Reservoir 1 Water Treatment Plant.

The water that travels through the Upper Main Ditch is used to serve a significant portion of EID’s more than 41,000 water service accounts (representing more than 125,000 people) from Pollock Pines all the way to Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills. Water sold to the City of Placerville also travels through the open ditch.

One of the project’s primary goals is to increase the health and safety of EID’s raw water supplies. Piping the water that is currently conveyed through this section of the open ditch system will reduce levels of coliform bacteria (including E. coli) and greatly reduce turbidity (suspended particulates) in the raw water before treatment. 

The piping project will also conserve an average of 1,800 acre-feet (more than 500 million gallons) of usable water supply each year that would otherwise be lost to seepage and evapotranspiration from the open and unlined ditch. Instead, this water would be available to offset the costs of the project by generating clean hydropower and provide additional non-rate revenue for the District or be available for the consumptive needs of customers.