Foothills Water Network

Yuba County Water Agency

The YCWA was created by an act of the legislature in 1959 with the primary purpose of flood control.  It also was granted the power to develop and store water supplies and to develop hydropower as a component of its flood control projects.  The Board of Directors consists of five members of the Yuba County Board of Supervisors and two at large members, one elected from north of the Yuba River and one south of the Yuba.  Curt Aikens is the general manager.

In 1963, YCWA was given a FERC construction license for New Bullards Bar Dam on the North Yuba.  The 966,103 AF reservoir was completed in 1969.  The two Colgate Power Houses below the dam generate 315 MW which is the most energy produced by any hydro project in the PG&E system.  YCWA and PG&E signed a fifty year contract in 1966.  The FERC license was amended in 1985 for fish releases as was the PG&E contract in 1986.  The FERC license expires on April 30, 2013.  YCWA also generates 46.75 MW at Narrows 2 Power House below Englebright, 1.95 MW at Deadwood Creek above New Bullards Bar and 0.15 MW at the Fish Release at the bottom of NBB.
The average annual runoff of the Yuba basin is 2.4 million AF.  Of that, 6% is diverted by YCWA to seven water districts and companies, 7% is diverted by other holders of Yuba water rights and 17% is diverted to other watersheds by PG&E, NID and Oroville Wyandotte Irrigation District.

In 1999, YCWA issued a Draft Report on Phase II Supplemental Flood Control Program on the Yuba River.  Its proposed projects included single and multi-purpose reservoirs at Parks Bar, Edwards Crossing, Freemans Crossing and lower Narrows as well as an off channel reservoir, Waldo, in the Spenceville Wildlife Area.  State Wild & Scenic for the South Yuba rendered much of it moot.  Passage of Prop 13 in 2000 with $ 90 million for flood reduction projects on the Yuba has resulted in an EIR to modify NBB, install a tailwater suppression system at Colgate, implement Forecast Based Operations and to do levee setbacks.  The levee setback program has been expanded to include the north side of the Bear from the Western Pacific Interceptor to the confluence with the Feather, providing a potential major benefit to the Bear River fishery.


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Foothills Water Network  •  PO Box 573  •  Coloma, CA  •  95613  •  530-919-3219