Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Water district takes tough measures

LOWER LAKE – Lower Lake County Water Works District has put in place stringent measures in order to address a water shortage that came into sharp focus because of the year’s dry weather.  {sidebar id=10}

The district’s board voted Aug. 22 to call for 15-percent conservation from its customers, said General Manager Al Tubbs.

The board also imposed a moratorium on new hookups to the system. “We’re not going to do any more hookups until we get a little more water,” said Tubbs.

In addition, the district board voted to stop selling surplus water to out-of-district water users, which includes Morgan Valley residents who had depended on a standpipe to supplement their low water table.

Earlier in the summer, Tubbs had reported that the district’s eight pumps had to operate around the clock to meet the daily demand of 500,000 gallons of water for the district’s 900 hookups. He previously stated his concern that the pumps could run dry.

But the conservation order is working very well, said Tubbs, who noted district customers are doing a “beautiful job” of conserving water. He did not say what percentage they had achieved, out of concern that customers might not continue saving water.

The pumps are now running an average of 13 to 14 hours a day to meet demand, Tubbs added.

Tubbs’ proposal to create an interdistrict tie-in with the Mt. Konocti Mutual Water Co. is on hold, he said, because he does not have a district master plan done, which is a requirement.



That plan was a backup in case Lower Lake ran out of water, Tubbs said, and isn’t a paramount concern at this point. “We’re not quite that desperate as of yet.”

The district board held a special meeting Thursday to give Tubbs approval to drill a ninth well, which is scheduled to begin today.

That new well will be located near another well that had stopped producing, said Tubbs. He expects the new well will produce 250 to 300 gallons of water a minute.

Tubbs said he hopes conservation measures and the new well will help pull the district out of its water crisis.

“I’m going to pull that (hookup) moratorium off just as soon as I possibly can,” said Tubbs, noting that he doesn’t like what it does to customers and the community.

He said he’s also pursuing funding sources for a surface water treatment plant that would allow the district to draw water from Cache Creek and raise it to drinking water standards without using chemicals.

“It’s a great system,” he said.

Similar treatment facilities can be found in Healdsburg and Yuba City, said Tubbs, and he is planning to travel to see one of them with district board chair, Frank Haas.

Tubbs cautioned that he hasn’t secured funding for the treatment system, which could cost as much as $500,000. “I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up on this because I’ve been shot down too many times before.”

Lower Lake County Water Works District has a contract with Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District which allows Lower Lake to draw 350 acre feet a year from Cache Creek at a cost of about $48 per acre foot.

Tubbs said his board has been very supportive. Two members, Haas and Ellen Pearson, are both water managers themselves, for the Callayomi and Clearlake Oaks water districts, respectively.

“As a water manager you couldn’t ask for better people to be on your board,” said Tubbs.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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