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Posted on: March 16, 2021

Yuba Water invests nearly $2 million in flood risk reduction and water infrastructure projects

An aerial photo of the lower Yuba River.

Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today approved several grants and matching loans to advance critical flood risk reduction work and water infrastructure improvements in Yuba County.

Reducing flood risk for communities near lower Yuba River

A $400,000 grant and $550,000 loan to the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority will allow TRLIA to complete the first of two phases of its North Training Wall Project near Hallwood along the lower Yuba River. The funds will help reshape the two-mile-long training wall and connect it to higher ground near Daguerre Point Dam, which will reduce flood risk for Marysville, Hallwood and communities in Reclamation District 10.

The work is closely linked to the agency’s adjacent Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project, which includes 157 acres of enhancements to fish habitat in the lower Yuba River. To minimize cost, both projects are utilizing a nearby gravel plant operated by Teichert Aggregates to remove debris and sediment from the projects. Yuba Water estimates Teichert is providing an in-kind contribution of approximately $72 million through grading and material removal in exchange for the raw materials from the combined projects.

“Teichert’s partnership has been an extraordinary benefit to this work and shows how successful public-private partnerships can be,” said General Manager Willie Whittlesey. “This action today is significant because it ensures both projects will continue without delays or cost increases.”

Yuba Water previously granted $1 million to TRLIA for the North Training Wall Project design and temporary repairs. TRLIA hopes to leverage the latest funds from Yuba Water to try to secure additional grants from the state and federal government to complete construction by the end of the year.

Once both phases are complete, TRLIA plans to pursue a 100-year-level of flood protection certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the community of Hallwood. This would document that there is a 1-in-100 chance in any given year that a storm could come along that is bigger than the infrastructure in the area is designed to handle.

Wastewater infrastructure in southern Yuba County

The board also approved a grant worth more than $350,000 and a matching low-interest loan to the Olivehurst Public Utility District and the City of Wheatland to continue water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in southern Yuba County, and to protect groundwater quality in the region. The project area, which falls within OPUD’s service boundaries, does not currently have a potable water distribution system and is primarily served by aging, private septic systems that are prone to failure during high water events.

The new funding will support the design of a dual-pipeline from Wheatland to a proposed interconnection near Rancho Road, which is needed to accommodate current demand and Wheatland’s anticipated growth. To date, Yuba Water has committed more than $4.7 million toward water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in southern Yuba County.

“These upgrades are an incredibly important investment for the future of Yuba County, ” said Yuba Water Vice-Chairman Gary Bradford, whose district includes that portion of the county where upgrades are planned. “This project will not only safeguard our groundwater resources, it will support economic development in the southern part of the county and attract new businesses and jobs at a time when our region needs it the most.”

While Yuba Water is transitioning to a more structured grant program, accepting new applications in March and September, the two grants approved today were for projects that the agency has already studied and committed other funding for. Delays in funding these projects could have slowed or stopped project progress, so the agency advanced these two grants to ensure continuity.

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