Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today approved an amendment to a grant agreement to help the North Yuba Water District replace its deteriorating Hell 4 Stout Flume. The agency previously approved funds for the project and anticipated a follow-up request for funding once the district had finalized construction costs. The agency’s total commitment to the flume replacement is now just over $1 million.
“This additional $416,000 is to align the original request with the actual cost of construction, which the district now has,” explained Ryan McNally, Yuba Water’s director of water resources and flood risk reduction. “The prior request was based on an estimate, when they first learned just how desperate the situation was, in order to get the project started immediately, while North Yuba was still waiting for more accurate costs.”
An engineering inspection of the flume earlier this year determined the structure would likely not survive the coming winter due to severe timber rotting and leaks compromising its overall soundness. The location of the flume on a steep slope in the foothills also means it’s susceptible to hazards from surrounding rocks, trees and erosion, and impacts from heavy winter storms like those experienced last winter.
“This past year, North Yuba Water District was able to restart water deliveries to its irrigation customers for the first time in several years,” said Willie Whittlesey, Yuba Water’s general manager. “If this flume were to fail, which was imminent based on its current condition, it would have devastating consequences for the district and its customers next year. We’re in a position to help make sure that doesn’t happen, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
In addition to safeguarding critical water conveyance infrastructure, the improvements will increase the flume’s capacity from 22 cubic feet per second to 38 cubic feet per second. The project directly aligns with Yuba Water’s mission to ensure a reliable water supply for the people of Yuba County and is within the board's annual $10 million budget allocation for its Community Impact Grant and Loan Program.