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Posted on: July 7, 2020

Yuba Water approves nearly $14 million for water supply, infrastructure improvements, and more

A photo of green, open farming land in southeastern Yuba County.

Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors today committed approximately $14 million in grants and loans for water infrastructure upgrades, levee maintenance and Yuba County’s annual California Public Employees’ Retirement System payment. 

Wheatland wastewater treatment system - $2.6 million

Building upon other recent water infrastructure investments in southeastern Yuba County, Yuba Water approved a $1.3 million grant and matching low-interest loan for the City of Wheatland to begin design engineering of improvements to its wastewater treatment system and connection to neighboring Olivehurst Public Utility District’s existing wastewater plant. The upgrades will protect groundwater quality, improve water supply reliability and expand economic development opportunities for communities along the Highway 65 corridor.

“The combination of Yuba Water helping fund OPUD and Wheatland really opens up economic opportunity in the southern part of the county where wastewater capacity has been a significant barrier to development,” said Yuba Water Vice-Chairman Brent Hastey. “This is something our community has been working toward for decades.”

“This funding will help us get the project shovel-ready,” said Wheatland City Manager Jim Goodwin. “That’s going to be incredibly important to help us qualify for state and federal grants as recovery efforts get underway.”

Yuba Water is able to provide funding for projects that ensure groundwater quality as part of its broader authority under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. As part of the Yuba Integrated Regional Water Management Plan – a collaborative effort to manage all aspects of water resources in a region – the project also has the potential to qualify for additional state grant funding. 

North Yuba Water District Oreleve Ditch piping project - $480,000

Helping improve water supply for a disadvantaged community that has historically experienced issues with drinking water reliability, Yuba Water also approved a $480,000 grant to help the North Yuba Water District pipe the Oreleve Ditch, which is a mile-long section of the larger Forbestown Ditch.

The Forbestown Ditch is currently unpiped and is prone to breaches. Additionally, up to 60 percent of the water is lost due to seepage and evaporation, and contamination from dirt, trash and other materials is common.

This funding will help improve water supply reliability for the approximately 3,100 customers served by the district.

Marysville Fire Department vegetation management program - $17,500

To help with the maintenance and inspections of local levees and to reduce the risk of a large fire, Yuba Water approved a $17,500 grant for the Marysville Fire Department for its vegetation management program. 

This funding will allow the department to continue its program and hire three additional seasonal positions to specifically help manage vegetation along area levees. This will help protect the levees from wildfire and preserve the quality of water in the local river systems. 

The vegetation management will take place on the levees along the Yuba and Feather rivers and Jack Slough.

Yuba County annual CalPERS payment - $10,881,032

Yuba County will save approximately $325,000 over the next year with the help of a low-interest loan from Yuba Water.

The $10.88 million loan will allow the county to make its annual payment to CalPERS in one lump sum, rather than financing it through CalPERS at a much higher 6.5 percent interest rate.

This marks the third year that Yuba Water has provided this loan to the county, and the county has made all monthly payments in a timely manner. 

Public jurisdictions that have an unfunded CalPERS retirement liability are required to make annual payments to cover a percentage of that unfunded liability, in addition to the jurisdiction’s regular ongoing CalPERS costs.

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