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TUD Receives Grant To Strategically Prepare For Wildfires

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne Utilities District is receiving a $249,927 grant that will help conserve treated water in the event of a large wildfire.

The money is from the USDA Forest Service Community Wildfire Defense Grant program, and it will be used to develop a comprehensive “Wildfire Risk Mitigation Plan”. A big component will be identifying raw water draft points throughout the district that firefighters can tap into.

TUD Vice Chair, Ron Ringen, has been a big proponent of this, and says, “I’m just thrilled that we are going to be getting that grant to finally accomplish our goal, which will benefit the entire community. By improving firefighters’ access to untreated water sources, we preserve the system’s potable water for critical drinking and sanitary purposes.”

TUD Board member Barbara Balen was the board president when the application was submitted. She adds, “This plan will maximize TUD’s ability to make gravity-fed, non-potable, raw water available for emergency fire response while reducing the risk of fire to our water infrastructure through vegetation management. TUD pulled together a stellar team including Rick Lind from EN2 out of Placerville and Biology Conservation Institute who worked with postfire recovery plans for Paradise. It is critical that we protect our green infrastructure for wildlife while making non-potable water available. It all works together, and I hope the insurance companies take these things into consideration.”

The district reports it will engage the community and agency partners to identify shared wildfire concerns in the near future and begin prioritizing risk-reducing actions to mitigate wildfire risks.

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