The meeting announcement can be found here. The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will be January 8, 2020. The NID Board normally meets on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month at 9:00 a.m.
Stopping Centennial Dam in 2019: A Year in Review
Happy Holidays Dam Watchdogs!
Hard work has paid off! Here is a brief review of the issues Dam Watchdogs have responded to in our efforts to Stop Centennial Dam in 2019.
January: New Direction for the Plan for Water
After SYRCL and allies re-submitted an 11-page letter critiquing NID's "disappointing" implementation of the Raw Water Master Plan (RWMP) update process, the NID Board fired the RWMP consultants. This was an important step towards fiscal responsibility and transparency because the RWMP will update the District's data on hydrology, water supply and demand. This will in turn help determine NID's need for any additional water storage, such as Centennial Dam. The estimated completion of the RWMP is now 2020.
April: Water Rates Hike
The NID Board voted to increase water rates "slightly more than a 17 percent increase over the next three years for customers. The original proposal was for an 89 percent increase over five years." This means we will be looking at another water rates increase in 2021.
As Don Rogers, publisher of The Union, eloquently stated,
"It is a little funny to hear pleas about empty pockets in the wake of spending $12 million so far to speculate on building a dam of questionable merit — ahead even of determining the district’s true water needs."
July: District Budget Cuts
The NID Board cut five percent of costs District-wide, which unfortunately did not include the $ 1.75 million allocated to Centennial Dam.
August: NID Stops Buying Properties
Despite recent budget cuts, NID considered purchasing three more properties for Centennial in closed session, worth over $2 million. After SYRCL, Watchdogs and allies gave public comment requesting NID stop spending on Centennial, the General Manager later announced NID would temporarily stop purchasing properties for the foreseeable future - including Centennial Dam. To see the full text of the NID staff memo, check out YubaNet's article. SYRCL applauded NID for making the fiscally responsible decision to temporarily suspend property purchases for Centennial. SYRCL and allies have consistently asked NID to cease spending on Centennial where legally possible for more than a year, and property acquisition was a majority of that spending.
Despite pausing property purchases, NID still had $1.75 million to spend on Centennial in 2019. NID's Assistant General Manager acknowledged in a YubaNet article,
"Centennial is on the back burner and Centennial has a 2019 budget. Both these statements are true."
October: Continued Centennial Spending
The NID Board passed a 2020 Budget characterized as "unsustainable" by their General Manager. The Budget's highlights include raising water rates 46% in 2021, a new $30 million dollar bond, and $500,000 allocated for Centennial Dam every year until 2024. This was a disappointing turn of events, especially since NID's Administrative Practices Committee (APC) requested a staff report in the Spring to determine the minimum amount NID needed to spend on Centennial in order to improve fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately that report was never delivered.
December: Centennial Spending Cap Approved
The NID Board voted to place a cap on Centennial spending in 2020 to the pre-approved $500,000. This limit does not take into consideration if NID lifts the property moratorium in June 2020, and will be revisited during the 2021 Budget process. Overall, limiting Centennial spending is an important step towards fiscal responsibility for the District. However, it does not fulfill SYRCL's original request to NID to stop spending on Centennial where legally possible until the Raw Water Master Plan update is complete.
Though the project still continues, all these efforts, big and small, will help Stop Centennial Dam.
I look forward to continuing to advocate with you, a Dam Watchdog, to Stop Centennial Dam. Thank you for your continued engagement and actions that have had an impact on NID decisions regarding Centennial Dam. We have a busy year ahead and need your ongoing support.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season -- stay tuned for more updates in the New Year!
Ashley Overhouse River Policy Manager South Yuba River Citizens League
Volunteer at the 2020 Wild & Scenic Film Festival!
Volunteer registration is now open for the 18th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival, January 16 – 20, 2020 in downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley.
SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a call to action where YOU can join our festival team. Powered by more than 500 volunteers who generously give their time and energy, you too can fill essential roles that are integral to the production of a smooth-running festival.
Want to take action for the Yuba and Bear Watersheds during the WSFF? Volunteer at our Environmental Action Tables!
SYRCL is working hard to protect and restore our Yuba forests, especially in the era of climate change where there is increased risk of catastrophic wildfire that would endanger our water security, and the lands and communities so dear to us. You can help! We are looking for volunteers to help advocate for science-based forest health policies. Get inspired and inspire others to take action during the festival, because healthy forests mean a healthy watershed. Learn more HERE!
Continue to show your support and purchase a Stop Centennial Dam Tee today! Only $10!
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