(Sutter Creek)  The Amador Water Agency has notified proponents of a referendum of the legal insufficiency of their petition, according to a letter released yesterday from the Water Agency to the Ratepayers Protection Alliance (RPA). As a result, the Agency will not rescind recently-approved drought rates on water service, nor will it put the issue up for a county-wide vote.


            The letter formally denies certification of the referendum, advises the RPA that this referendum will not be placed on the ballot for a county-wide election, and states the reasons for rejection. The letter also makes clear that a referendum cannot require the AWA Board of Directors to rescind the temporary drought surcharge if doing so would cripple the Water Agency’s ability to collect sufficient revenues to provide water service to its 10,000 Amador County customers.


Since Governor Brown’s water conservation order went into effect, AWA has seen a 33 percent drop in water sales which translates into an estimated loss of over $1.2 million per year needed to provide safe, reliable water for homes, businesses and fire protection. 


The RPA has demanded that the Water Agency rescind a July 21, 2015 resolution that put the temporary drought surcharge and new water rate structure in place, and collected signatures on a petition for a county-wide vote on the matter.


            “Operating the county’s water systems with a 33 percent drop in sales is simply not sustainable. The temporary drought rates are helping to keep the systems maintained until the conservation order is lifted,” said AWA General Manager Gene Mancebo.


About 1% of AWA customers objected to the drought charge and new water rate structure under the state’s Prop. 218 notification process. The drought rate is structured so that customers who conserve water will have very little increase in their monthly water cost over pre-drought water bills.


            Today’s letter to the RPA from AWA Clerk of the Board Cris Thompson rejects the RPA’s petition due to legal errors but Mancebo says the question goes beyond legal details.


“AWA has a responsibility to provide essential health and safety services to the community – and we will fight anything that jeopardizes our ability to serve our customers with clean, safe water and provide fire protection,” Mancebo said.
Published in Local
 (Sutter Creek)  Fire fighters used high-pressure gravity-fed pipelines in the Amador County upcountry to fight the Butte Fire during widespread power outages that disabled Amador Water Agency water facilities throughout the area.


High volume hydrants on the Amador Transmission Line (ATL), the major gravity pipeline that runs from Lake Tabeau to AWA’s water treatment plant on Ridge Road, provided water to fire fighters even as the fire raged all around the pipeline intake above the Mokelumne River canyon.


The ATL carries water that previously ran down the open ditch Amador Canal, which winds through forest and heavy brush. The high-pressure pipeline, completed in 2007, takes a more direct route and hydrants are located on roadways where fire crews can easily access them.


New hydrants on the Gravity Supply Line (GSL) were made available for fire fighters on the Butte Fire. The GSL, still under construction, is being built to flow Mokelumne River water downhill to the water treatment plant that supplies upcountry homes.


Amador Water Agency crews learned from PG&E operators on Saturday of the Butte Fire that the Tiger Creek Regulating Reservoir, site of the intake for the GSL, was full and spilling. This created an opportunity for AWA crews to attempt to use the almost-completed pipeline for fire protection. By manually operating the pipeline intake, they were able to get the Gravity Supply Line filled with a critical water supply by Saturday evening of the fire. 


Fire crews were immediately alerted to the locations of the additional hydrants, and filling the pipeline provided an additional high-pressure water supply in areas above the Buckhorn Water Treatment plant. 


The Gravity Supply Line is replacing the current upcountry water supply system that uses pumps to pull water up the steep canyon from the Mokelumne River to the Buckhorn Water Treatment Plant. Those pumps lost power at the outset of the fire, along with AWA water and wastewater sites east of the intersection of Ridge and New York Ranch Roads. 


Until AWA staff was able to get the GSL up and running, AWA was using generators to run the big pumps on the CAWP raw water system, with staff and equipment vulnerable to the unpredictable fire. It wasn’t until the afternoon of the second day of the fire that AWA crews could get a large enough generator into the canyon to run one of these critical pump stations. 


These two key gravity-flow water supply lines, the ATL and the GSL, are not dependent on electricity to operate. In the past, power outages shut down the upcountry water system as often as 25 times a year, disrupting water delivery to customers.


 “Avoiding shut-downs caused by power outages during fires and other disasters is a primary reason for constructing the Gravity Supply Line – along with the cost of running the pumped raw water delivery system,” said AWA Operations Manager Damon Wyckoff.  “The GSL pipeline has already proved its worth during the Butte Fire by making water available for fire protection.”


            In other areas affected by the Butte Fire and power outages, AWA crews worked 24-hour shifts, inside evacuated areas in many cases, to manually control filling of multiple CAWP system water tanks to avoid loss of pressure needed for fire protection. 


Crews also manually operated multiple wastewater pumps day and night to keep several wastewater disposal systems at safe levels.


“I don’t think most people are aware of the role that a water utility plays in a big fire or disaster,” said Wyckoff. “Several of AWA field staff members’ households were evacuated, but they all stayed on the job 24/7 to help keep homes supplied with water and AWA facilities operating safely.”
            There were no reports of homes without water service due to the Butte Fire. Raw water customers on the Amador Canal, primarily used for agriculture, were without water for about 48 hours until crews were able to install a generator on the pump that feeds raw water from Lake Tabeaud into the Amador Canal on Friday evening of the fire– the first time this has ever been done. 


The Water Agency provided free drinking water to anyone, customer or not, whose water supply was impacted during and immediately after the fire. Two AWA water tanker trucks were also used to deliver free water for livestock in areas where wells were shut down. 


Contact:  Gene Mancebo, General Manager


               Amador Water Agency, 209-223-3018 
Published in Local


Board of Directors

Regular Meeting

12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, CA gS6Bs

June 12,2014

9:00 a.m.

Website Address: www.amadonraterrorq

P/ease Note:

Members of the public will have the opportunity to directly address the Agency Board of Directors

concerning any item listed on the Agenda below before or during conè¡derâtion of that item.

There is a three minute time limit per person.

ln order to better accommodate members of the public, some Agenda ltems wilt be heard at a

specified time or soon thereafter. Agenda ltems without specific times may be rearranged to

accommodate the goard,s schedule.



Items added to the agenda must be approved by the Board pursuant to Government Code

Section 54954.2.


A. Discussion items only, no action to be taken. Any person may address the Board at this

time upon any subject within the jurisdiction of Amador Water Agency; however, any matter

that requíres action will be referred to Staff for a report and action at â subsequent Board

meeting. Please note there is a three (3) minute time limit per person.


A. ltems listed on the consent agenda (see attached) are considered routine and may be

enacted by one motion. Any item may be removed for discussion and made a part oitfr"

regular agenda at the request of a Board member(s).


Staff Reports will be provlded by Department Heads to update the Board of Directors on current

activities within their areas of responsibility.

A. Administration/Finance

B. Field Services


A. California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program (CASGEM)

1' Discussion and possible action to authorize the Generaf Manãger to execute a contract

with Dunn Environmental for assistance in review and updating of thã existing California

statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring program (CASGEM¡

Art Toy, President Rich Farrington, Vice president


Robert Manassero Gary Thomas Paul Molinelli

Published in Local

Tom Slivick talks with AWA Director Rich Farrington about what the member of the Amador Water Agency think of the proposed Wild and Scenic Designation for the Mokelumne River.

Published in News In Depth

Tom Slivick talks with AWA Director Rich Farrington about what the member of the Amador Water Agency think of the proposed Wild and Scenic Designation for the Mokelumne River.

Published in News in Depth

AWA General Manger Gene Mancebo talks about the Gravity Supply Line and why some people consider it a controversial project for the AWA.


Published in Local

AWA General manager Gene Mancebo talks with Mike Spence about what is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Amador Water Agency.


Published in Local

AWA General manager Gene Mancebo talks with Mike Spence about what is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Amador Water Agency.


Published in News In Depth

AWA General Manger Gene Mancebo talks about the Gravity Supply Line and why some people consider it a controversial project for the AWA.


Published in News In Depth
Monday, 25 February 2013 21:35

AWA to meet on February 28th

The Amador Water Agency will be holding its regularly scheduled board meeting Thursday February 28 at 9:00AM at 12800 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek.

Among the Items On the Agenda for Discussion and Possible Action is Mokelumne Amador Calaveras Integrated Regional Water Management Plan Update Resalution No. 2013-03 Adopting the Updated Mac IRMWP. Also the board will be discussing the FY 2012-2013 Budget & Cashflow Review.

Story from press release, edited by Tom Slivick, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Water