Environment

$14 million to fund 19 drought relief projects for Sacramento area water agencies

The California Department of Water Resources announced funding for 19 drought-relief projects in the Sacramento region, totaling $14 million, at a news conference Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, at the Sacramento River intake facility in Sacramento, Calif.
The California Department of Water Resources announced funding for 19 drought-relief projects in the Sacramento region, totaling $14 million, at a news conference Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, at the Sacramento River intake facility in Sacramento, Calif. rpench@sacbee.com

The California Department of Water Resources on Thursday announced it will fund $14million worth of water infrastructure projects throughout the Sacramento region.

The department announced the awards to pay for construction of 19 projects during a news conference at the Sacramento River intake facility near Discovery Park.

The funds are designed to help municipalities deal with the current drought, and help them cope with the effects of future dry spells.

Many of the projects involve improving distribution of stored groundwater to areas that now depend on surface water from river or reservoirs.

In total, $9.7million in drought relief funds will finance 17 projects by the Sacramento Regional Water Authority. The Yolo County Flood and Conservation District received $4million to fund two projects.

The funding is part of $220million of expedited grant money in Gov. Jerry Brown’s Water Action Plan, released early this year, calling for long-term improvements in water storage, distribution and conservation.

The projects include the construction of a $5million pipeline for the Carmichael Water District. That pipeline will be 7,400 feet long and will give the district the option of sending groundwater to the Golden State Water Co., which also serves customers in Sacramento’s eastern suburbs.

The Sacramento Suburban Water District will get $2million to build an Antelope booster pump station.

“That pump station will use an existing pipeline that was put in to bring surface water to the center of our region and allows the movement of ground water to those agencies that are heavily dependent on Folsom reservoir,” said John Woodling, executive director of the Regional Water Authority.

Another project will involve installing devices known as vortex breakers at the Sacramento River intake facility to reduce the amount of air sucked into pumps. River-bottom pumps will be outfitted with breakers that mitigate the effects of vortexes, or eddies, that form when water is taken into the system when water levels are very low.

Vortexes have the potential to ruin costly pumps at the facility, which processes 30million gallons of water each day.

Overall, the funds weigh heavily to making the best use of the region’s groundwater stores. “During these dry times, the groundwater basin really is our insurance policy,” Woodling said.

Call The Bee’s Edward Ortiz, (916)321-1071. Follow him on Twitter @edwardortiz.

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