King Fire Restoration Project

June 30, 2015

2014 King Fire October 29 087

The King Fire burnt the watershed in areas with unprecedented severity causing potential long term impacts on water supply, water quality, the environment, recreation, and, in fact, all the beneficial uses in the watershed for many generations.  The water purveyors, Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) and Georgetown Divide Public Utilities District (GDPUD) have been significantly impacted and PCWA alone has spent over $1,000,000 dollars protecting its water and power infrastructure from the effects of the King Fire, not to mention the significant negative impacts to private land owners, such as Sierra Pacific Industries.2014 King Fire October 29 100

This is part of a MCWRA letter sent to El Dorado National Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree addressing the alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the King Fire Restoration Project.

MCWRA letter to: Laurence Crabtree – Forest Response 2015

MCWRA also received a copy of the Placer County Water Agency’s (PCWA) letter submitted by Andy Fecko, Director of Resource Development.

PCWA letter:  PCWA Draft Environmental Impact Statement Letter

Water Plan Regional Report hits CA Capitol

June 29, 2015


To continue to build on the awareness and recognition of Mountain Counties Overlay Area and the California Water Plan Update, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) hand carried 120 copies of the Mountain Counties Area Volume 2 regional report to each of the 80 Assembly Members and 40 Senators, along with a copy to Governor Brown.

In the midst of this significant enduring drought, Mountain Counties wants long term statewide water objectives and goals to also remain a high priority with the Legislature and policy makers, with emphasis on the statewide significance of the foothills and forests of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

The Mountain Counties Area regional report is one of 12 regional reports to help drive and implement long term water goals and objectives for California, said John Kingsbury, MCWRA Executive Director.  ”This Update is not a document to sit on the shelf and collect dust, but should be considered the third leg of the water stool.  Effectively integrating and implementing the California Water Plan objectives and recommendations, the California Water Action Plan, and Proposition 1 will go a long way to resolve many of California’s water issues.”

MCWRA thanks our DWR partners,  Kamyar.Guivetchi, Lew Moeller, and Paul Messera for their leadership in developing the Water Plan Update and for their help and assistance with this process.

Cover Letter to Governor Brown and Legislators

Mountain Counties Area Regional Report




EID’s Bill George plans to run for Vice President of ACWA

June 23, 2015


EID Logo (3)

At the June 22, 2015, El Dorado Irrigation Board of Directors meeting in Placerville, the Board adopted a resolution and unanimously provided support for the nomination of Director Bill George to serve as Vice President on the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).
bill_george (2)





Bill also has served as on the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) as a Director since 2009 and is the current Treasurer.

Members are encouraged to adopt a resolution or send a letter of support to the Association of California Water Agencies at 910 K St #100, Sacramento, CA 95814

EID Resolution:  Bill George – EID Resolution

Information about:  Bill George

Foresthill Public Utility District (FPUD) Receives $15,000 Grant

June 21, 2015

News Release

Foresthill PUDForesthill Public Utility District

Contact:  Hank White, General Manager

(530) 367-2511, or email: at

The Foresthill Public Utility District announced it has received a $15,000 grant from the Placer County Water Agency as part of PCWA’s 2015 Financial Assistance Program. The funds will be applied to costs for environmental studies associated with the FPUD’s application for an extension of water rights permits from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

More:  Foresthill – Press Release 2015 06 16

New Members / Legislative Letters / Members Helping Members / TUD Community Forum

June 11, 2015

 New Executive Members:

MCWRA is pleased to announce two new Executive Members

Legislative Letters:

AB 647; Assembly Member Susan Talamentes Eggman – Support, if Amended

AB 291; Senator Medina – Support

Budget Trailer Bill 825:  Oppose

  MCWRA  - Members Helping Members

On May 18, 2015,  MCWRA held a water right and water conservation workshop at the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) for water purveyors.  Members shared their water conservation activities and programs as they work toward water reduction compliance of 24% – 36% within the region. Several agencies expressed interest and desire to share water conservation literature “templates”, reduce costs through consolidated purchasing using MCWRA as a vehicle,  improving effectiveness of programs and exploring opportunities with other regional members to save time and money.  This could include:

  • Educational Material
  • Rebate Programs
  • Landscape Tips
  • Water Wise House Calls
  • Reporting Water Waste
  • Messaging (social media)
  • Regional billboards
  • Bulk purchasing agreements for water conservation materials

Here is a list and a link to contact water purveyors in Mountain Counties:

More Information on the Workshop

If you would like to discuss this information further, you are encouraged to contact John Kingsbury at:   johnkingsbury.mcwra@gmail com

TUDCommunity Water Forums in Tuolumne County!

Following up on the response from the Community Water Council, a series of Community Water Forums will be held starting this week to discuss water solutions for Tuolumne County. We are encouraging the public to attend to find out what solutions have been discussed and to engage in an open discussion on water solutions. At the end of the forums we will also be asking the public to vote on their best recommendations. Listed below are the dates and locations for the community forums:
Dates Location Time
Wednesday, 6/10 Sonora Opera Hall, Sonora 6-8pm
Thursday, 6/11 Columbia Elementary, Columbia 6-8pm
Thursday, 6/18 Tuolumne Memorial Hall, Tuolumne 6-8pm




If you are unable to attend one of the Community Water Forums, your vote still counts. Go to the website at, review the recommendations and solutions and vote. This online voting survey will be open to the public until Friday, June 26th.

 Water Restrictions Still in Place

Due to drought conditions, Tuolumne Utilities District has implemented water restrictions. The District is currently in Phase III water conservation measures. A mandatory water reduction of 30% has been set for all customers based upon their water usage of 2013.

Please visit the TUD website, for a complete listing of the water restrictions and conservation tips, or click the attached pdf to download the water restrictions

MCWRA Members Helping Members

June 1, 2015

Times are busy and resources are limited.  If you need assistance with an upcoming program or project, please consider MCWRA Associate Members in your search.  Our sponsors have helped keep dues down and underwritten our events, tours, and briefings.  Since 2011, we have received 38 sponsorships for over $39,000.00

The top five MCWRA sponsors:

  1. Parjana
  2. Sierra Nevada Conservancy
  3. Atkins
  4. Tully and Young
  5. SAGE

For more information and contacts, click the links below.

Link:  Members Helping Members

Link:  Members Page



EID hosts Region 3 ACWA program

June 1, 2015

What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting Rain

This program will feature ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn and two conversation panel discussions. The first panel will highlight what agencies have done to successfully conserve water and the second panel will delve into what agencies are going to do to meet the new emergency state regulations.

More:  Region 3 program-agenda

For more information contact Brandon Ida, ACWA Regional Affairs Representative at 916.441.4545

MCWRA holds water purveyor member workshop

May 21, 2015


2015 - Workshop - Water Rights-Water Conservation May 18 (1)

On Monday, May 18,  managers, Board members and attorneys from the Mounties Counties water purveyor membership convened at the Calaveras County Water District  or via conference call for an action oriented workshop to discuss the recent water conservation regulations, and concern of the prospect of pre-1914 and riparian water right curtailments.

2015 - Workshop - Water Rights-Water Conservation May 18 (15)In the morning part of the workshop, members shared their current conservation activities, and discussed challenges and opportunities to help members achieve their conservation mandates of between 24% -36%.  Some districts may look to recalculate the population numbers, reduce distribution losses, share resources to improve education and outreach, improve operational and financial efficiency, and for unique cases work directly with the State Water Board.  Further discussion and assistance to take place within the membership.

2015 - Workshop - Water Rights-Water Conservation May 18 (5)In the afternoon part of the workshop, members discussed the prospect that the State Water Board may issue curtailment notices to most or all pre-1914 and riparian water rights in the coming weeks or months.  Following the workshop, MCWRA developed a letter submitting comments for the Water Board’s workshop scheduled for the afternoon of May 20. The letter outlined expectations for an improved curtailment process.2015 - Workshop - Water Rights-Water Conservation May 18 (14)

In correspondence attached to the electronic transmittal letter, John Kingsbury, Executive Director, MCWRA, said that “MCWRA supports your public involvement and transparency and appreciates the opportunity to provide comments as this curtailment process moves forward.  There is still work to be done and expectations to be met prior to support of actions on pre-1914 or riparian water rights in the Delta watershed.  We appreciate your efforts to 2015 - Workshop - Water Rights-Water Conservation May 18 (8)implement a fair and equitable process and encourage and request discussions with your staff as soon as possible with MCWRA and its members.  We do stand ready to assist in this process.”

Letter to State Water Board:  051915 – SWRCB Letter – Felicia Marcus – Curtailments

More Pictures from the gallery

MCWRA sends SWRCB letter on water right curtailment process / Member News

May 19, 2015

The limited water resource in California has Mountain Counties concerned about the prospect and process by which the State Water Board may look to curtail most or all Pre-1914 and Riparian water rights in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Watershed.

MCWRA supports the State Water Board’s public involvement and appreciates the opportunity to provide comments as this curtailment process moves forward.  However, there is still work to be done and expectations to be met prior to support of actions on pre-1914 or riparian water rights in the Delta watershed, said John Kingsbury, Executive Director, MCWRA.  ”We appreciate the State Water Board’s efforts to implement a fair and equitable process and have encouraged and requested discussions with their staff as soon as possible.  We do stand ready to assist in this process”, said Kingsbury.

Letter to State Water Board:   051915 – SWRCB Letter – Felicia Marcus – Curtailments

  Member News

TUDNID_logo only_blue_trnsp (2)

Tuolumne Utility District:

Community Water Forums Scheduled in June to Focus on Water Solutions

See more:   TUD – WaterForums_05192015

Nevada Irrigation District:

Drought Briefing 

see more:  NID Drought Briefing

Customers Urged to Cut Water Usage by 36%

see more:  NID Board_Drought 5-13-15


California Water Rights Law: 100 Years and Counting – and Concerned

May 14, 2015

The long history of California is embattled with disputes over water diversions for export to other regions. The US Army ran out the Paiutes from the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra Nevada region that destroyed the Paiutes quality of life and largely destroyed the environment. The battle over the O’Shaughnessy Dam that flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, which facilitated water conveyance transportation from Yosemite to San Francisco and its suburbs. This came after a failed attempt at the targeted Lake Tahoe. Disputes, broken agreements prevail to this day.

The Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (Mountain Counties) is concerned with the State’s notices of the intent to take the unprecedented actions of curtailing vested pre-1914 appropriative rights and requiring reductions of riparian water rights.

Mountain Counties consists of 54 member entities located in all or a portion of 15 counties within the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. These foothill and mountain areas contain the headwaters for 40% of the state’s developed water supply and our members are vigilant stewards of these precious environmental resources. A primary Mountain Counties objective and goal is to assist the region in protecting water rights to ensure a reliable, sustainable water supply for our economic and environmental well-being for many future generations.

The water system in California is very complex and the severity of the drought requires appropriate regulatory action. Mountain Counties supports the State’s adherence to the water right priority system in curtailing post-1914 water rights for the protection of senior water rights, including previously stored water. However, our position is that no regulatory action should be imposed with respect to the long-standing legal rights of pre-1914 senior diverters.

In the long and contentious history of water rights in California, one date brought order to the water right landscape: Dec. 19, 1914. The Water Commission Act of 1913 took effect on December 19, 1914. The Act divided the hierarchy of appropriative water rights – “Pre-1914” or “Post-1914.”

The appropriative water right system has been recognized in California since 1851. The water rights claims that existed before the passage of the Water Commission Act were grandfathered in, and have senior water rights initiated under the Water Commission Act of 1913. Water rights granted after 1914 were subject to a more orderly permitting and licensing procedure administered by the Water Commission, a predecessor of today’s State Water Resources Control Board.

In the 1930s a set of laws enacted during the formative years of the California’s major water projects were put on the books to alleviate northern Californians fears that local water supplies would be depleted. Projects were being planned to export major amounts of water from areas of water abundance to areas of water need. The areas of abundance included northern California, and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Collectively, these laws are designed to protect water rights throughout a watershed, giving priority to water right holders with the earliest documented water right claims. Their intent seems clear; to provide some measure of protection for area of origin water such that water will be available for future needs notwithstanding the development of export projects.

The effect is to reserve water that originates in a county until such time as it may be utilized for development within that county. The word “originates” means falls in the form of precipitation; therefore, the term “county of origin” applies to the county in which the water originates, or the county where the precipitation falls.

To underscore the importance of this set of laws, in 1955 then Attorney General Edmund G. (Pat) Brown wrote an analysis that said, “these two statutes were enacted at different times and appear in different parts of the Water Code. However, they have a common purpose, i.e., to reserve for the areas where water originates some sort of right to such water for future needs which is preferential or paramount to the right of outside areas, even though the outside areas may be the areas of greatest need or the areas where the water is first put to use as the result of operations of the Central Valley Project.”

This foundational system is still in place today, incorporated in the state Water Code, yet is constantly challenged. Coupled with the long-standing statutes, and the hierarchy of water rights, the State should respect the long-standing legal rights of pre-1914 senior diverters and uphold pre-1914 water rights, particularly where they serve areas of origin.

Written by John Kingsbury, Executive Director of the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association


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