Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne Utilities District (T.U.D.) Board voted unanimously Tuesday to hire an independent consultant to increase the public’s engagement in helping to find long-term water supply solutions.
The District was awarded a $7,500 grant from the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. The grant will help pay for Sentium Strategic Communications of Eldorado Hills to assist District staff, on a contract basis, with a citizen engagement project. Components of the project consist of the planning, management, and coordinating of three community meetings to discuss water supply alternatives and recommendations to address the problem.
T.U.D. General Manager Tom Scesa says Sentium will put together questions to try to get the public to weigh in on water issues. The queries, he says, include, “What does Tuolumne County want out of water? Do we want just enough water to get by for the people that are here…or enough to generate some income out of it?”
According to the agreement with the consultant, the total cost for the project will not exceed $20,000. The projects scope includes the creation of an outreach website. The board discussed potentially asking the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors to split the balance of the project’s cost. T.U.D. Board Member Ron Ringen commented on the costs, “Even if this thing were to run, let’s say, $10,000 over. Would $30,000 be too much investment to know where this community definitely wants to go on water in the future? Because so far we’ve just been flailing in the wind, we don’t know where were going.”
The goal is to present the projects finding to the Board in June.