Sheep munching new grass
PVID Status Update April 27, 2020
Dear Water Customer,
The lack of normal rainfall this winter and spring has everyone concerned. The Potter Valley Irrigation District (PVID) is currently under a DRY water year flow pattern per review by the Potter Valley Drought Working Group. A Flow Variance from the established Reasonable & Prudent Alternative (RPA) has been submitted to The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Flow releases for the Eel River and East Branch Russian River (EBRR) will be adjusted as a variable relationship to Lake Pillsbury actual storage.
On May 15th of a normal water year the flow release for the EBRR would be 75 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 50 cfs for PVID and a 5 cfs buffer so the total release through the powerhouse would be 130 cfs.
Between May 1, and June 30, 2020, we will be under a DRY year flow plan. Release to the EBRR will begin at 15 cfs. PVID will be operating on a demand based system receiving between 0 and 50 cfs and a 5 cfs buffer flow is also added so the total release through the Powerhouse will be a maximum of 70 cfs.
Based on a bi-monthly review of Lake Pillsbury storage projections, expectations are that flows for the EBRR will increase to 20 cfs for July, August and September then decrease to 10 cfs October, November and December.
If pre-established minimum monthly storage levels in Lake Pillsbury are not met the water year designation may change from DRY to CRITICAL and the total release through the powerhouse could drop to 60 cfs or less.
We expect to have sufficient water to irrigate our lands with a rotation schedule of approximately 14 days. It remains possible that this could extend out to a 21 day rotation if the water year becomes CRITICAL.
As always, we stress conservation and management of all irrigation water. The District Bylaws must be strictly followed. Excessive tail water is wasteful and slows down the rotation and delivery to the next customer. We ask that you coordinate closely with the water tenders and please give them the 2 hour minimum notice required for your requested off time.
If you have questions or problems related to your water deliveries please contact Superintendent Steve Elliott at 743-1109 or 621-2045. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
PVID Status Update February 19, 2020
As of 1-24-2020 the water storage level at Lake Pillsbury is below the spill crest of Scott Dam yet still above target storage curve. This allows PG&E to divert flows through the project in excess of the minimum of 40 CFS this time of year. They have been diverting flows at a rate of 160 CFS on a regular basis. With only 12 inches of rain so far Lake Pillsbury is 6 feet from the spill crest at Scott Dam.
Everyone is still apprehensive about what is going on with PG&E. FERC relicensing, bankruptcy, and now it seems they have chosen to surrender their FERC License! How can we hope to keep track of all this information? How can we make our voices heard to protect the beneficial use of our water rights.
You can follow Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, MC Farm Bureau, and Potter Valley Irrigation District on their websites. Talk with your local and regional representatives.
A broad range of affected entities have formed a coalition to file for the sunsetting PG&E Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) License and assume control and operation of the Potter Valley Project. Representative Jared Huffman has established an AD-HOC committee to establish a forum representing concerns of both the Eel and Russian River watersheds. Remember, it’s an election year. We need representatives that are going to stand up for our water rights and agriculture.
Our 2020 infrastructure improvement plan, if approved by the Board of Directors will allow for the installation of pipe in approximately 2,000 feet of the open ditch lateral #17 and replace 640 feet of RCP on Lateral #20. We will continue our work on the Busch Creek Flume, and we are in the planning phase for the reconstruction of the East Canal Pump delivery system by replacing it with a gravity flow system similar to the west canal direct diversion system. We will continue with normal maintenance projects as well. We are also working on our 2020 proposed budget, and the 2019 PVID annual financial audit, performed by Robert Johnson Accountancy out of Sacramento.
I would like to remind everyone that our water rates for 2020 are the same as they were for 2019. PVID will be paying $15.00 per acre foot and water customers will be paying $17.50 per acre foot as our contract with PG&E stipulates. Garden Pumps discharging less than 25.0 GPM will be charged by the flat rate method of $100.00 per year.
Just a reminder, if you purchase water from PVID, please maintain an accurate record of each irrigation, and stay in contact with your Water Tender. A calendar works well for logging the start date & time, and the stop date & time. Please remember, we require at least a 2 hour notice with your request to have your water turned off. This policy allows the water tender time to arrange moving your water to the next waiting customer. If you are irrigating a different, or additional, parcel of property this year please contact the District office to set up a new water account, 707-743-1109.
The PVID Board of Directors is doing everything they can to ensure the PV Project diversion continues beyond 2022.
Potter Valley Irrigation District
MCFB statement on PG&E's intent to abandon Potter Valley Project relicensing - January 25, 2019
We want you to know that Mendocino County Farm Bureau is very active in
the numerous issues related to the Potter Valley Project and will
continue to keep you updated.
Please share this information so we can keep the community well
informed. It is times like this that your membership is essential to our united
Today at approximately 12:15 PM, we received the following notice from
PG&E via email:
Today PG&E submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) providing our "Notice of Withdrawal of Notice Of
Intent to File License Application and Pre-Application Document" for
the Potter Valley Project. As a result, PG&E will expeditiously cease
all activities related to the relicensing of the Project. Our decision
to cease Project relicensing will also result in the stoppage of our
efforts to sell the Project via the Request for Offers (RFO) process.
This action is being taken to ensure limited available funds are
deployed to the highest priority activities. We recognize the gravity of
this action, but believe it is appropriate given PG&E's current
Although the timing is unclear at this point, we anticipate that
PG&E's action will result in FERC initiating its Orphan Project
process. In accordance with the Orphan process, FERC will provide
interested parties the opportunity to submit an application for a new
Project license. We believe this path will allow interested parties more
time to prepare for the acquisition of the Project and the ability to
submit a License Application on their own terms rather than assuming
PG&E’s current application. If the Orphan process does not result in
the issuance of a new Project License, it is expected FERC will order
PG&E to prepare and submit a Surrender Application and Decommissioning
PG&E will continue to own and operate the Project in accordance with the
terms and conditions of the current Project license and all laws, rules,
and regulations governing the operation of the Project until a new
license is issued or the Project is decommissioned. PG&E also intends to
support the Orphan process through provision of work products and
information developed to date in the relicensing process to those who
apply to FERC for a new Project license.
PG&E recognizes that many stakeholders have invested significant effort
in the relicensing process and we are very appreciative. We apologize
for any challenges or inconvenience this action might cause.
What this means??????????
Although it is unclear at this time what the ramifications are from this
latest decision, Mendocino County Farm Bureau is in contact with
appropriate entities to determine what the next steps in the process may
look like for the re-licensing and sale of the Potter Valley Project.
However, some take-aways from the letter above include:
The fact that this action will provide interested parties, such as,
Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission additional time to
organize and consider the submittal of a Request for Offers (RFO) past
the current February 1st deadline.
Also, PG&E will, "continue to own and operate the Project in
accordance with terms and conditions of the current Project license and
all laws, rules, and regulations governing the operation of the Project
until a new license is issued or the Project is decommissioned."
The objective of maintaining the Project under local control has not
changed with this new information. Mendocino County Farm Bureau will
continue to be involved in this issue and work on education and outreach
opportunities for our membership and the general public. We know that
this latest development is concerning, but until additional information
is provided, we need to move forward with supporting the Project and the
related water supply.
MCFB will continue to actively promote the preservation of local control
over the Potter Valley Water Project. We are taking donations to assist
this effort. If you would like to contribute; please make the check out
to MCFB Water Education & Outreach Fund. Or you can donate with a credit
card by clicking the button below, please specify the purpose of the
donation towards the Water Education & Outreach Fund.
Current Lake Storage
PG&E Announces plans to sell the Potter Valley Project
PG&E Official Notice of Potter Valley Project Sale, May 10, 2018
PVID Status Update June 20, 2018
Some years we begin our water season the middle of March following frost season. It was the middle of May before water season got into full swing this year. Frost season was near non-existent, and Lake Pillsbury has filled. Cumulative inflow to Pillsbury has fallen short of the required amount to move us out of the Dry Year Flow Plan. Though flows have been consistently above the minimum requirements below Cape Horn Dam, flows being released through the Project into the East Branch Russian River will remain a maximum of 80 CFS through the summer.
Everyone is talking about PG&E and their decision to divest themselves of the Potter Valley Hydro Project. PVID is fully engaged in this process with other public entities to insure the continued viability of the Potter Valley Project. PG&E is required to continue with the current relicensing process including all studies as required. I will attempt to keep you informed as we move through this process. Keep an eye on our website!
PVID has been extremely busy since it stopped raining. We have installed 660 feet of 18 inch pipe in lateral #36 above and under Hawncreek Road. We are installing 2,140 feet of 18 inch heavy wall PVC pipe in lateral #50 along Main Street. All of this work is being done between customer irrigation demand.
Minor repairs are being completed at gates #75, #31, #80, #36-3-4. Hand cleaning of all open ditch laterals is an ongoing process.
I would like to remind everyone that our water rates for 2018 through May of 2019 will remain the same as 2017 as our contract with PG&E stipulates. PVID is paying $10.00 per acre foot and our customers will be charged $12.50 per acre foot.
Just a reminder, please maintain a record of each irrigation, and stay in contact with your Water Tender. A calendar works well for logging the start date & time, and the stop date & time.
Potter Valley Project Relicensing
In order to continue operating Lake Pillsbury, Scott Dam, and Van Arsdale Dam, along with the diversion that runs the Potter Valley Project 9.4 MW hydropower plant and provides water to the Potter Valley Irrigation district past 2022,
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) must obtain a new FERC license. At the current time PG&E is not proposing to add capacity or make any major modifications to the Project or its operation.
The initial documents have been submitted and the process is underway. The Potter Valley Project is a critical water resource for Potter Valley.
A new group has formed, Water Solutions, that is closely following the relicensing process
and the impacts of it on the Eel River and Russian River watersheds. You can sign up with them to get email updates with news
about the relicensing, including updates on public comment periods.
On January 10, 2018, at 6pm in the Potter Valley School multipurpose room, the PVID Board will be hosting a public presentation detailing the project, the relicensing process, and how you can help.
There will be opportunities for questions, and refreshments will be provided.
Documents relating to the process, including presentations shown at the March 2017 public meeting,
can be found at http://www.pge.com/pottervalley.
You can also find instructions there to be notified by email of FERC activity on this project, and this overview of the project that includes many historical and contextual images of the Project.
Scoping Document #2, which lists issues to be considered in the Environmental Impact Report, is now available.
Read more on the Potter Valley Project Relicensing page.
page collects scientific papers, government reports, regulatory documents, and other relevant data and information
for the Eel River and Russian River systems. In some cases, we have scanned or acquired papers that were not previously available in electronic format
to make them available here, such as