NEWSLETTER NOV-DEC 2019
November 01, 2019
All of the District’s accounts with PG&E and the Wintu Pumping Plant which pumps water from the Sacramento River were de-energized on October 8th and again on October 26th due to two separate PG&E “Public Safety Power Shutoff” (PSPS) events that proactively shut-off power during extreme wildfire conditions that lasted for several days. Unlike some water agencies that utilize gravity to deliver water from an upslope source, Bella Vista Water District must lift (pump) all of its supply from the Sacramento River and from groundwater wells at least once and up to three times. The District’s complex water transmission and distribution system is very energy intensive and until recently, highly reliant upon grid power to operate. The District received notice on April 24, 2019, that with the expansion of PG&E’s program to “Tier 2 – Elevated Fire Danger” regions, all of the District’s PG&E accounts would be subject to PSPS during extreme fire conditions, as determined by PG&E. District staff promptly identified generator requirements to remain operational and the Board of Directors authorized the necessary unbudgeted expenditures for the purchase and installation of generators at key facilities. The purchase of these generators ensured continual water delivery service during de-energization events.
All but one of the generators were installed in time for the October PSPS events and has since been completed. The Del Puerto Water District; in the San Joaquin Valley near Patterson, generously loaned the District at 125kv generator that ensured continued water delivery to every zone! During the two de-energization events, all customers responded well by limiting water use to indoors only and for public health and safety needs to help maintain water supply. District staff worked around the clock to ensure generators were fueled, maintained and operational for an undetermined length of time. Although both capital and operating costs to the District were very high, all zones remained operational and pressurized throughout the two separate de-energization events, although with reduced water pressure. As a result of the investment in generators and emergency preparedness, the District is now more resilient and prepared to provide continued water service including during unplanned power outages or intentional de-energization events. However, it is critically important that customers conserve water during these events.
As of this date, fall conditions remain very dry with continued high wildfire potential. As long as dry conditions persist, please make every effort to ensure defensible space by managing vegetation and minimizing fire ignition activities such as mowing or burning.
For additional information, visit:
FALL HAS ARRIVED! ADJUST IRRIGATION TIMERS TO SAVE WATER AND MONEY
With shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures, it is important to greatly reduce irrigation run times on timers and controller to improve soil condition while saving both water and money! Although dry conditions persist and it is important to continue to provide soil moisture for actively growing crops and landscapes, cooler temperatures and dormancy of deciduous trees and plants have greatly reduced irrigation water requirements as compared to summer. Until rains arrive to saturate the soil root zone and eliminate irrigation requirements altogether, it is important to ramp irrigation run times down with the goal of replacing soil moisture lost to soil evaporation plus plant respiration, or evapotranspiration. Drying winds can make a big difference this time of year. Try digging or pushing a metal rod into soils to help gauge soil moisture. Generally speaking, irrigation requirements in November and December range from 1.2 – 2.5 inches per month as compared to over 8 inches per month during the summer. Consider reducing irrigation run times to only 10-20 percent of summer run times and monitor soil moisture until rains arrive. Or better yet, consider a “smart irrigation controller” that will automatically adjust irrigation run times based on actual weather conditions.
For real time and historical evapotranspiration and related weather data visit the California Irrigation Management Information System: https://cimis.water.ca.gov/
ANNUAL WATER METER INSPECTIONS UNDERWAY
You may notice District personnel inspecting water meters during November and December to manually read and inspect the meter installation. For most meters, we obtain a “drive-by” reading for billing purposes and then annually perform an inspection and verification of the Electronic Radio Transmission (ERT). While out in the field, District employees wear Bella Vista Water District clothing and carry a District ID card. Don’t hesitate to ask!
WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO CUSTOMERS
To assist Residential, Rural and Commercial Customers in achieving improved efficiency and conservation, the District is offering FREE, confidential irrigation system evaluations and will provide recommendations on irrigation equipment and scheduling to improve water use efficiency and save money. Please contact the District office or check our website for additional information.
Agricultural Customers can utilize the services of the Resource Conservation District of Tehama County for irrigation evaluations at NO COST! Contact an irrigation technician to schedule a Mobile Irrigation Lab appointment call: (530) 527-3013 Ext 102 or email:
For additional information visit: https://www.tehamacountyrcd.org/services/lab2.html
The District’s regular office hours are as follows: Monday – Thursday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Friday – 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Board of Directors’ Meetings are open to the public and are generally held the 4th Monday of each month. Information, including Board Meeting Agendas and prior meeting Minutes, can be reviewed online at: www.bvwd.org