EID approves Bass Lake sale

By From page A1 | June 16, 2014

The sale of Bass Lake as surplus property was approved by the board of the El Dorado Irrigation District at its June 9 meeting.

The 152-acre property was sold to the Rescue Union School District for $300,000. Rescue has long-term plans to build a school on the property.

The sale was approved on a 4 to 1 vote, with Director Greg Prada voting no. Prada thought the district should have received more money for the property.

EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie reported the Headwater Benefits Agreement negotiations have been concluded and approved by the Federal Regulatory Commission after 11 years.

When EID acquired ownership of Project 184 in 1999, they were entitled to seek compensation for the headwater benefits it provided to SMUD. To identify and agree upon the allocation of benefits, EID and SMUD entered into negotiations which began in 2003.

A headwater benefit occurs when the downstream project is able to generate additional electricity that would have been unavailable had not the headwater project been in operation. An example of a headwater benefit is when EID stores water at the same time that SMUD’s Slab Creek Reservoir (Forebay to the White Rock Powerhouse) is spilling. Then, when this water is released later in the year, White Rock Powerhouse is able to generate additional electricity that would have not been possible if EID’s reservoirs had not stored and released the water.

The Federal Power Act requires that all non-federal hydroelectric power producers, which benefit from the operation of upstream projects, reimburse the upstream projects for an equitable portion of their energy gains. EID’s El Dorado Hydroelectric Project (Project No. 184) is such a complex of dams which provides headwater benefits to downstream projects including Sacramento Municipal Utilities District’s White Rock Powerhouse.

The district has been negotiating with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District to establish a water supply and power generation financial model to quantify the financial benefits provided to SMUD. As a result of the new agreement, SMUD will pay $390,000 to the district as a back payment for headwater benefits from 2001 to 2013. Future annual payments will use $30,000 as the base payment adjusted by the Urban Consumer Price Index.

On a separate item, EID staff reported on a study it did of real and apparent water losses as there has been an increase in the past 10 years.

Real losses are actual water losses from leaks and breaks in the district’s infrastructure. Losses in the Main Ditch are also considered real losses. Apparent losses result from meter inaccuracies, data handling errors or unauthorized consumption (water theft).

The total losses were calculated to be 6,811 acre-feet or 17.2 percent of raw water diversions in 2013. In 2003, it was only 4,909 acre-feet or 13.2 percent of raw water diversions.

The board also agreed to have a discussion of small farm rates following Director Greg Prada’s letter to the Mountain Democrat on April 11.

In the letter, Prada claimed that EID’s $49 per acre-foot small farm water rate has barely increased since 2008 while residential rates have sky-rocketed to $829 per acre-foot.

A discussion of the rate is scheduled for June 23.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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