SONORA — A diverse group of partners has agreed on about $3.6 million worth of projects that could boost the quality and quantity of water in the central Sierra Nevada. They are applying for state bond money that could be used for projects such as conserving water in homes, preventing pollution from sewage treatment plants, and increasing the water-holding capacity of meadows.
The effort involves the watersheds of the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, which are mainly used by irrigation districts in and near Stanislaus County. Those districts are not among the partners, but they could benefit from incremental improvements to the volume and cleanliness of the water.
The partners call the effort the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Program. It is one of several groups around the state seeking funding from a voter-approved bond measure for water-related projects.
"It is a real achievement when varying interests can work together on projects that will help the region while retaining their rights to hold differing views or positions on controversial issues," said Carolyn Lott, the facilitator for the planning process, in a news release.
The group met over five years to develop a set of projects for consideration by the California Department of Water Resources. They include:
Installing water-saving devices for low-income residents, to be done by the Amador-Tuolumne Commu-nity Action Agency
Improving Phoenix Lake, a small reservoir for Sonora-area residents, for storage capacity, water quality and wetlands habitat. It is owned by the Tuolumne Utilities District.
Educating small landowners on practices that enhance watershed quality, to be done by the Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District
Helping the Cala-veras County Water Dis-trict and Murphys Sani-tary District increase their wastewater treatment capacity. They also would work on recycling water for irrigation.
Improving a sewage pump station in the Groveland Community Services District to reduce the risk of discharges.
Enhancing meadows near the upper south fork of the Stanislaus River so they hold groundwater longer each year. This work by the U.S. Forest Service would include repairing road culverts to reduce sediment in waterways.
An effort by the Tuol-umne River Trust to educate people about watershed health and water use efficiency, including volunteer work days
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.