Broadcasted Live by KVMR 89.5 PM from the historic Nevada Theater, Nevada City, California

The Nevada County Community Water Forum was an opportunity to share this year’s responses to our efforts in Nevada County as well as mitigation ideas for our upcoming water year (2015-2016). Thank you to Brian Hamilton, The Union newspaper, Pascale, Yubanet and Paul Emery, KVMR, for contributing to the forum. A very special thanks goes out to KVMR. Here is a recap of what we learned.

This is the fourth year of a record setting drought in California. We in Nevada County, however, have been blessed with the amount of precipitation that western Nevada County has received this fiscal year. There was a slight impact noticed by our groundwater users. The precipitation delivered to our region must have maintained satisfactory good health for most of the vulnerable groundwater wells. Preparation in Nevada County for avoiding aquifer depletions experienced by other less fortunate Sierra mountain foothill communities include taking steps, on an individual basis, in groundwater monitoring of private and public wells, continued water conservation, reuse (gray water) and recycling, supplementation of water supplies with rainwater harvested water and groundwater recharge programs.

Chris Paulus, CalFire, is greatly concerned with the fuels that have accumulated in creating today’s fire hazard. This is due to past and present management practices, the drought and the Bark Beetle. Good personal land management by Nevada County property owners will facilitate good water management and reduce fire hazards that currently exist. Fuel reduction is key to increasing watershed yield. You can increase both your defensive space and increase groundwater recharge. The Pine beetle epidemic is in a critical phase. This is due to overstocking of trees in our forests. What makes this worse is the lag time that continues the problem even after the Pine Beetle epidemic ends (3-5 years lag time).

Nevada County office of Emergency Services, Vic Ferrera, pointed out that if the drought continues, Nevada County may qualify for state and federal emergency funds. Many Nevada County citizens would become eligible for government assistance programs. These would include assistance for potable water and low cost loans for deepening wells. Past normal years are not the same as our future normal years so our current worries will likely continue even with more precipitation.

Chip Close, Nevada Irrigation District wants everybody to know the snowpack is critical. The District is prepared for a severe drought year. Nobody knows what a normal year is however if we have a normal year, NID reservoirs will do well. Regardless, water conservation will be asked under any circumstances by the State and NID.