4th holiday taps out Donner area water supply | SierraSun.com

4th holiday taps out Donner area water supply

Many Donner Lake residents lost their water in the evening on July 5 through the next morning, mostly due to an increased demand for water and more people watering their lawns, according to Del Oro Water Co. officials.

Donner Lake residents can expect the water outage to happen again, especially in the next few weeks, said Mike Bradford, assistant field superintendent for Del Oro Water Co.

“The primary reason we lost water is that everyone was heavily watering their lawns because it was hot out. It was a heavy demand weekend to begin with and basically more people were watering their lawns over the weekend,” said Bradford.

Donner Lake residents have not lost water for at least five summers, said Bradford, and the demand for water has increased by at least 30 percent in the last five years because more people have been moving to the area.

The overconsumption caused the water to run out at 6:30 p.m. Monday until about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Some houses were without water all night long; others lost water for brief periods.

The Truckee-Donner Public Utility District was able to help out some by flowing water through their interconnector with Del Oro Monday night, but were concerned about threatening their water reserve, said TDPUD Water Superintendent Ed Taylor.

“It’s summer in the mountains and everyone’s washing things down. We gave them (Donner Lake) what water we could without compromising our customers’ water supply,” said Taylor.

TDPUD is also experience an increase in demand for water with an average of 300 new water hook-ups each year. At last night’s PUD board meeting, they awarded a contract for the development of a new Martis Valley well. Taylor said they will begin drilling now, and the new water source will be available next summer.

Donner Lake residents may be faced with more water outages throughout the summer.

“It is quite possible this will happen again in the near future,” said Bradford. “It could happen probably any weekend during the summer. It’s the last thing we want, but with people using more water than what’s available, it will happen.”

Del Oro Water Co. may restrict water usage in the near future and is currently working on a plan, he said. They are asking Donner Lake residents to conserve their water to the highest degree possible.

The company is in the process of a $2.5 million capital improvement project that is expected to be completed by next summer. The project will increase the total water capacity to 1,080-gallons per minute. The current capacity is 650-gallons per minute. If the improvement project had been completed before last weekend, it would have prevented the water outage, said Bradford.

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