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Posted on: December 7, 2021

Yuba Water approves agreement to transfer water to Bay Area agencies in 2022

A large dam with water behind it and a spillway with water coming down it on the right.

Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today voted to authorize a water transfer agreement with Contra Costa Water District and East Bay Municipal Utility District, to sell at least 10,000 acre-feet of water, and potentially more, if the conditions allow, during the spring and summer of 2022. 

“This is a great opportunity for us to provide water to other communities in need during the drought, and bring in additional revenue for Yuba County water projects,” said Yuba Water Agency General Manager Willie Whittlesey. “This agreement does not change the way we operate or how much water we release at all. It’s just a change in where a relatively small portion of the water we are already releasing goes. We would be releasing this water for fishery benefits in the lower Yuba River, anyway, and this agreement will allow us to bring home even more benefits for Yuba County.”

Water transfers are a key element of the 2008 Yuba River Accord, a collaborative, multi-party agreement that ensures a holistic approach to water management on the Yuba River. This landmark agreement benefits lower Yuba River fisheries and ensures water supply reliability for Yuba County’s agricultural community and others who purchase water from Yuba Water Agency. It also provides revenue to fund local flood risk reduction and water supply projects and other activities to further Yuba Water’s missions. In short, the water that is released in the Yuba River for the benefit of the fish, can then potentially be sold to others in the state who need it, and the revenue from those transfers goes to projects that benefit Yuba County.

“This is a big deal for us,” said Yuba Water Agency Director Brent Hastey. “One of our goals has always been to expand our options regarding who we sell water to, so that we have more flexibility and can consistently bring home the benefits of water we are releasing to help Yuba River fisheries.” 

The water transfer is consistent with Governor Newsom's recent executive orders and proclamation of a drought state of emergency that encourage local agencies to voluntarily coordinate their use of available water supplies to protect public health.

The transfer water in this agreement would be diverted at East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Freeport diversion facility and at Contra Costa Water District’s diversion facilities near Rock Slough. The payments for the transfer water will reflect market rates agreed to by the parties.

Learn more about the benefits of the Yuba Accord and how water transfers benefit the people of Yuba County.

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