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$4.5-million Annual Cost For TUD Water Infrastructure Acquisition

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Sonora, CA — More details have been made public about the Tuolumne Utilities District’s plans to acquire water infrastructure like Pinecrest Reservoir and Lyons Dam.

It was the focus of a joint meeting yesterday afternoon between the water district, county board of supervisors, Sonora City Council, and other partners.

Though the total price tag for the acquisition has not been released, citing ongoing negotiations, TUD General Manager Don Perkins detailed what it will cost ratepayers over the next five years, taking into account things like the acquisition, maintenance and upkeep. He says, “We have run the analysis, and I’ll break it down like this. Annually, to the average customer, an additional $200 (per year).”

Perkins adds, “There is a lot that goes with operating and maintaining two high-risk dams, Pinecrest and Lyons, the Tuolumne Main Canal, and a hydro facility. We feel like we have done our due diligence, turned over every stone, looked around every corner, looked at the horizon, and we now know that this is going to be a $4.5-million investment, per year, through 2027.”

Lyons Reservoir
Lyons Reservoir

City and county leaders, and TUD Board members, highlighted the importance of acquiring the infrastructure, and also acknowledging unknowns. The county could potentially help the district by trying to acquire funding like state Community Development Block Grants.

Members of the public also had a chance to weigh in and gave a variety of opinions.

Board Chair Anaiah Kirk wrapped up the meeting, saying, “It is not just a once in a generational opportunity, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain our water rights.”

TUD GM Perkins will be the guest on Mother Lode Views this weekend to further detail the potential acquisition.