San Andreas, CA – An ambitious five-year, almost $56 million capital improvement program has been given a unanimous approval stamp by a Mother Lode utilities district board.
The Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) directors, at their Wednesday night meeting, approved their latest version of the utility’s projects package, which identifies numerous replacements and repairs of aging pipelines, pump stations, treatment facilities and other infrastructure throughout the CCWD service areas from Arnold to Copperopolis and Rancho Calaveras to West Point.
Revisited every year the comprehensive list evolves due to changing conditions and priorities, along with emergency projects that come up. Most of the major projects are ones the district has been looking at for many years.
Overall, the latest program estimates its overall planned water projects at $38 million, which is $10 million more than last year. Wastewater-focused improvements this year total $17.6 million, versus $11 million the year before. Among the biggest changes that district spokesperson Joel Metzger identifies are: a $3 million increase to the White Pines Blagen Mill pond project, originally estimated to cost $1 million, and the newly added Copper Cove Zone “C” pump station and transmission line with a cost of $5.5 million. Too, the cost to repair the Ebbetts Pass Techite water transmission line went up from $750,000 to $1.25 million.
R&R Covers Maybe 55 Percent Of Listed Projects
The Capital Water and Wastewater Renovation and Replacement (R&R) Fund, fed by monies collected from rate increases approved in 2013 and 2014 — exclusively to provide ongoing funding for capital improvements program projects — is projected to cover $21.8 million of towards the water projects and $6.8 million of the wastewater ones.
This leaves what roughly appears to be a $25 million plus funding gap between what the district would like to do and for what it has actual funding under its belt. Aside from carefully considering small loans Metzger says, “We have to get creative with funding grants…cost savings and just evaluating whether we can hold off on some or whether they are so critical that we have to do them within this five-year span.”
As far as grant opportunities go, he shares, “We’re hoping to bring about $5 million in grants for the water side and about $4.9 million for the wastewater side.” If things go well, he says there will likely be more available, especially considering the district’s successful track record in that area.