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The original item was published from 10/22/2019 9:45:21 AM to 10/23/2020 2:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: October 22, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Yuba Water celebrates 60 years of reducing flood risk in Yuba County

Water being released down New Bullards Bar Dam's spillway.

Reducing flood risk for the people of Yuba County was the single most important motivation for the creation of Yuba Water Agency.

This year, the agency celebrated its 60th anniversary, marking six decades of reducing flood risk, generating carbon-free energy, supporting recreation opportunities at New Bullards Bar Reservoir, providing reliable water supplies to local irrigation districts and groundwater management programs to ensure a reliable valley groundwater aquifer.

Yuba Water Agency works with local, state and federal agencies, Congress and many others to bring real results in reducing flood risk to Yuba County. Through partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority and the Marysville Levee District, Yuba County’s flood risk is now among the lowest of the urban areas in this region, and is getting better every day.

Yuba Water Agency has committed well over $50 million to help leverage more than $450 million in state and federal funding for levee repairs and other work to minimize flooding in the area.

Several major flood risk reduction accomplishments in reducing flood risk include:

  • Construction of New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir in 1970

  • Secured $90 million in Proposition 13 funds for Yuba-Feather flood risk reduction  for RD 784 levee and associated environmental improvements

  • In partnership with Yuba County, issued $78 million in bonds to pay for the local share of the Feather River Setback Levee

  • Helped secured funding to construct the Marysville Ring Levee improvements 

While the agency has accomplished a lot, it remains focused on ensuring that current and future projects, programs and investments will enhance the quality of life and spark economic development in Yuba County. 

Yuba Water invests millions through grants, loans and staff time to support local levee maintaining agencies, and remains laser focused on its own infrastructure improvements to ensure our dams remain in excellent condition. The goal in all of this effort is to reach a 500-year level of protection in Yuba County’s urban areas. 

500-year protection does not mean the levees will be guaranteed for 500 years, as so many mistakenly believe. It means there is a 1-in-500 chance in any given year that a storm will come along that is bigger than the system was designed for. Which is why, even then, it is recommended that residents carry flood insurance, even if it’s not required by their mortgage. 

To further reduce the risk of flooding, enhance dam safety and provide climate resilience for Yuba and Sutter counties, Yuba Water Agency is in the midst of the permitting and design phase of an estimated $160 million spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam. 

Yuba Water has come a long way in the last 60 years. There is much more work to be done, but Yuba County’s flood risk is lower than ever before - among the best in the Central Valley - and it’s due, in great part, to the vision of its founders who created this little agency all those years ago.

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