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NID Previews Centennial Reservoir Amid Concern


In a presentation to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Nevada Irrigation District General Manager Rem Scherzinger outlined the benefits the Centennial Reservoir and Power Supply Project will bring to Nevada, Placer and Yuba county residents.  The topic is covered in today’s Grass Valley Union, and in the Auburn Journal.

According to the NID, the Centennial Project will provide clean drinking water, green energy and critical water storage to Nevada, Placer and Yuba county residents, NID said in a news release. Amid historically devastating drought conditions, NID is undertaking this project to meet the region’s existing and future water needs in a sustainable way by better protecting the state’s natural resources, as well as the small farms and ranches that use the majority of NID’s water supply.

NID currently relies, in large part, on mountain snowpack that in the average year can boost NID reservoir storage by 50 percent. Located below Rollins and above Combie, Centennial Reservoir will increase the district’s storage capacity by nearly 50 percent, according to the district.

In September, Placer County Board Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery addressed some concerns about the future site with Sarah McCormick on KAHI’s morning show.  When asked about the Nevada Irrigation Districts Centennial Reservoir plans, she says she has “fairly strong concerns.” Montgomery noted that the Bear River Campground, operated by the county for the state, would be inundated according to the NID’s construction plans. She hopes that the NID will consider replacing the recreational area in Colfax, to prevent “substantial hit to its economy.”

Organizations such as Save the Auburn Ravine Salmon & Steelhead (SARSAS) have spoken out against the project, and the NID.  The Hemphill Damn, has been a site that has been a contentious battle of water rights and salmon conversation.  In today’s Auburn Journal, Jack Sanchez with the organization, said “They’re going ahead with the Centennial Dam while not being good custodians on Auburn Ravine.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) cited a couple of violations at the Hemphill facility by the NID.  Last March, in a letter from the Regional Manager for the CDFW to the NID, there are two specific codes in question. In September, the Sacramento Bee reported that there are preliminary discussions with the DA’s office about those potential violations.

Scherzinger said concerns about expansion with more dams and/or reservoirs is confusing.  He said there are administrative issues which need to be addressed.  A petition with the state water board had been filed, challenged by SARSAS and a number of other people.  According to Scherzinger, the NID has spent about $250,000 to resolve the water rights issues.

Scherzinger spoke to McCormick in September, and said they (NID) are anticipating hydroelectric power at that facility and at another facility at Rollins, which should “expand the Sierra’s portfolio by about 30 megawatts.”  He said it will be another boon for the region with carbon-free power and use water to help protect resources in the community.

The Centennial Project construction will begin in 2021. It is anticipated the reservoir will hold up to 110,000 acre-feet of water and include two power units, low-impact public recreation and a new irrigation water supply system for the Dog Bar-Magnolia road area in southern Nevada County.

For more information, go tohttp://nidwater.com/ where you’ll find maps, reports and more.


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