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Drought emergency: NID moves closer to water-use restrictions

(Grass Valley, CA June 24, 2021) As the severity of drought conditions increase, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is moving closer to mandatory water use restrictions and other rules to safeguard the community’s water supply.

Citing the dry, hot, windy conditions of summer and dwindling water supply, the District’s Board of Directors gave a nod toward greater conservation actions during its June 23 meeting. The board is expected to take a vote during a July 1 special session.

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An NID crew works on the Bowman Dam on June 23. Notice the low levels of Bowman Reservoir. The dark line on the dam is the water mark.

The proposed mandatory restrictions include:

Treated Water customers

  • Mandatory water usage reduction of 20 percent
  • Implement Stage 2 drought pricing (25 percent increase on volumetric consumption)
  • Limit outdoor watering to every other day, a maximum of 3 days per week

Raw Water customers

  • No new or increased water sales
  • No fall water sales
  • Limit winter sales to existing customers
  • Implement drought pricing Stage 2 (20 percent increase in volumetric)
  • Landscape customers to limit watering to three days a week


  • No system flushing
  • Implement water waste patrols
  • Expand media campaign
  • Water waste enforcement
  • Inform municipal customers of mandatory cut

“Mandatory water use restrictions are a testament to the circumstances we face during this drought. Our water levels continue to fall,” said Chip Close, NID operations manager. “We need to start serious conservation efforts, so we don’t run into a dire situation in the future.”

The water-use restrictions are necessary to ensure that NID has sufficient end-of-year reserves of water (carryover) in storage. NID’s eight-year average carryover is 166,000 acre-feet (af). The minimum carryover is 78,000 af for public health and safety needs for 2022. The 2021 initial carryover was 91,700 acre-feet.

“The focus is on carryover storage,” Close said. “This protects the District’s capacity to continue delivering water to all beneficial uses in the succeeding year should the current drought conditions continue.”

Currently NID is in Stage 1 of its Drought Contingency Plan that asks irrigation water and treated water customers to voluntarily conserve water. The District’s Drought Contingency Plan identifies drought action levels, appropriate agency responses, and water reduction goals. It also provides recommended demand management measures to assist customers in water conservation.

The severe dry hydrologic conditions across the West continue to stress water resources across California. On April 21, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a State of Emergency Proclamation that included all of NID’s service area. NID directors declared a drought emergency on April 28. On May 25, directors authorized purchase of 15,000 af of water from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Customers are encouraged to view for tips and advice on ways to conserve.


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