In order to ensure that reliable water service and fire flows can be provided to 7,000 residents in Copperopolis now and in the future, the Calaveras County Water District is moving forward with an extension of its Lake Tulloch intake pumps.
“This is the same path we’ve been on since the Board of Directors approved the project in the spring,” said Dave Eggerton, CCWD general manager. “The intake extension is the first of two steps that CCWD is taking to protect the Copperopolis community’s water supply. The second step is the pursuit of a long term Warren Act contract that allows us to store water in New Melones Reservoir, which we can use to help ensure a reliable water supply for human consumption and fire flows.”
The District’s existing intake in Tulloch is at 465 feet above sea level, which is about 45 feet below the normal summer operating level of the lake – 509.5 feet above sea level. However, due to diminishing storage levels immediately upstream in New Melones Reservoir, Tulloch is being partially drawn down to provide colder water for the protection of fish downstream in the Stanislaus River and to meet water quality objectives. See press release from the Tri-Dam Project here. Read another press release about the drawdown here.
Read the notice that Tri Dam Project sent to residents, agencies and interested parties here.
If the severe drought continues, there is no guarantee that Tulloch will not be drawn down further this year or in future years. To prepare for all scenarios and in order to ensure that reliable water service and fire flows can be provided to the Copperopolis community, the District is extending its intake by 350 feet and lowering it to 420 feet above sea level. This will ensure that CCWD can pump water even if the lake is drawn down to minimum pool, which is about 430 feet above sea level.
“This is a rapidly changing situation that is largely dependent on the amount of precipitation we receive this fall and winter,” Eggerton said. “Using an abundance of caution, we are taking proactive measures to make sure we don’t lose access to our sole water supply for the Copperopolis community’s drinking water and fire protection.”
The District has completed plans, ordered pumps and has a contractor in place for the intake extension project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of September. Costs are expected to exceed $650,000, and CCWD staff members are continuing to work with the State Water Resources Control Board to secure emergency grant funding for the project.
Pictured: A portion of CCWD’s intake pipes can be seen under the surface of Lake Tulloch.