Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 02:30 PM

Mr. Einar Maisch

Director of Strategic Affairs, Placer County Water Agency

Statement of Einar L. Maisch, Director of Strategic Affairs –
Placer County Water Agency
Before the
United States Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Water and Power
June 28, 2006

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4204
A Bill to Direct the Secretary of the Interior to Transfer
Ownership of the American River Pump Station Project, and
for Other Purposes

Support Testimony of Einar Maisch
Placer County Water Agency
Senate Energy and Natural Resources (Water & Power Subc.) Hearing on HR 4204

June 28, 2006

Chairman Domenici and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify
today in strong support of H.R. 4204, a Bill to Direct the Secretary of the Interior to transfer
ownership of the American River Pump Station Project to the Placer County Water Agency upon
completion of the project’s construction.
My name is Einar Maisch and I am the Director of Strategic Affairs for the Placer County Water
Agency, located in Auburn, California. Placer County ranks as one of the fastest growing
counties in California and currently the Agency provides water delivery and power generation to
more than 150,000 customers covering an area from the Sacramento Valley to Lake Tahoe.
It is a privilege to be here before you today to support this transfer legislation and highlight the
positive partnership we have enjoyed with the US Bureau of Reclamation on this project. The
Agency and the USBR Regional Office in northern California have worked very closely over the
years on this project and we both enthusiastically support the facilities transfer.
While many parties brought us here, I would like to single out my Board of Directors, Chairman
Alex Ferreira, and Directors Pauline Roccucci, Mike Lee, Lowell Jarvis and Otis Wollan for the
leadership and vision they have consistently shown on this issue; the indefatigable spirit and
drive of our General Manager David Breninger; and the hard work of my staff. I also wish to
commend Kirk Rodgers, Mid Pacific Regional Director, Mike Finnegan Central California Area
Manager, and their respective teams within the USBR for their cooperation and strong support.
They are real pros and have been a pleasure to work with on this project.
And on behalf of our Agency and customers, I would like to share our gratitude with our
Congressman, John Doolittle, for introducing this legislation and to Senator Diane Feinstein for
her continued support for this project and regional water solutions in northern California. The
Agency and our customers are fortunate indeed to have such representation here in Washington,
There are three primary points I wish to make in urging your support for this transfer:
1. All parties are in agreement. Reclamation is not interested in being in the O&M business
for a facility that only serves one agency and we feel we can better operate the facility to deliver
a reliable water supply to our customers. The project meets Reclamation’s framework for the
transfer of title to facilities that can be more effectively and efficiently managed by non-federal
2. Congressional consistency. This transfer is consistent with actions the Congress has taken
historically in such situations – with the authorization of transfers such as Sugar Pine Dam
(Foresthill PUD) and Sly Park Reservoir (El Dorado Irrigation District).

3. Completes a Four Decade Long Cycle. The Placer County Water Agency (Agency)
constructed a pump station on the American River at Auburn in 1966 to access its Middle Fork
Project water rights. When Congress authorized and appropriated funds for the construction of
the Auburn Dam, Reclamation acquired the Agency’s pump station property and removed the
pump station. In return Reclamation agreed to maintain responsibility to provide water to the
Agency until such time as the Auburn Dam was completed - pursuant to the 1972 Land Purchase
A temporary pump station was installed in 1977 by Reclamation to meet the Agency water
supply needs and then annually since 1990 as Agency water supply demands increased. This
temporary fix proved to be very costly: it is incapable of meeting the Agency’s needs; and, as all
parties have agreed, it does not satisfy Reclamation’s responsibilities under the 1972 Land
Purchase Contract.
Working in collaboration, Reclamation and the Agency designed a permanent pump station to
meet the Agency’s needs and executed Contract No. 02-LC-20-7790 that details the facilities to
be constructed, cost sharing and ownership. The project has successfully completed all
environmental review requirements and is currently under construction. Under this contract
Reclamation is obligated to pay the costs of replacing the original pump station with a 100cfs
capacity facility as compensation for the land it acquired in 1972 and the pump station the
federal government first removed, and the Agency is obligated to pay the cost of any over-sizing
above 100cfs.
Passage of HR 4204 will enable Reclamation to transfer the American River Pump Station to the
Placer County Water Agency, upon completion and under the terms of Contract No. 02-LC-20-
Placer County Water Agency
Placer County Water Agency (Agency) was created by an act of the California State Legislature
in 1957. The boundaries of the Agency are coterminous with the County of Placer, an area of
approximately 1500 square miles that extends roughly along the I-80 corridor from Roseville to
Lake Tahoe. The Agency is governed by an independently elected five member Board of
Directors. The Agency is functionally divided into three business units; those being Agency
Wide; Power System and Water System.
The American River Pump Station
In 1972, under threat of condemnation, the Agency entered into a Land Purchase Contract with
the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to convey its property and pump station on the
American River at Auburn to Reclamation to make way for the construction of the Auburn Dam.
This contract provides that Reclamation will provide water to the Agency through a temporary
pump station, when needed, at a rate of 50 cfs and 25,000 acre-feet per year until the Auburn

Dam is completed. Construction work on the Auburn Dam was halted in 1975 and never
The first time that the Agency needed to access its MFP water rights was during the drought of
1977. Previously, and for several years after, the Agency was able to acquire sufficient water to
meet its customers needs from its PG&E contracts for Yuba/Bear River water. By 1990 growth
within the Agency’s service area was using nearly all of the available PG&E water and the
Agency began to request that Reclamation install pumps annually to allow the Agency to access
its MFP water rights.
Reclamation used the original pumps installed by the Agency in 1966 for their temporary pump
station; by constructing a channel through a sand bar to an inlet screen a few hundred feet
upstream of the Auburn Coffer Dam and Diversion Tunnel. The pumps are only a few feet above
the summer water level and are subject to flooding in the winter, so they must be removed each
fall and cannot be installed again until April or May.
At first the pumps were only needed during the annual PG&E canal maintenance period which
begins in mid October. But with continued urban growth the Agency currently operates the
pumps at maximum capacity during the peak summer period. Unfortunately, the maximum
capacity of the temporary pump station is less than 50 cfs (due to piping restrictions) and the
maximum annual usable diversion capacity is only about 13,000 acre-feet per year (due to the
limited time of the year that the pumps are operable) which are less than required under the Land
Purchase Contract.
Early in the 1990’s the Agency and Reclamation staff agreed that the current temporary pumping
arrangement was unsatisfactory for both parties and began work on the design and environmental
elements of a new permanent pump station.
Excerpts from Reclamation’s Record of Decision for the project
“The Project is the subject of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental
Impact Report (FEIS/EIR), American River Pump Station Project, dated July 2002,
developed in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The FEIS/EIR was prepared jointly by Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Placer County
Water Agency (PCWA). The purpose of the Project is threefold: (1) to provide facilities
to allow PCWA to convey its Middle Fork Project (MFP) water entitlement to the
Auburn Ravine Tunnel to meet demands within its service area; (2) to eliminate the
safety issue associated with the Auburn Dam bypass tunnel; and (3) to allow for all preconstruction
beneficial uses of water in what is now the dewatered river channel,
including recreation, navigation, and other instream beneficial uses.
Prior to the onset of construction, Reclamation and PCWA would approve and execute
Contract No. 02-LC-20-7790, entitled “Contract Between the United States and Placer
County Water Agency Related to American River Pumping Plant and Associated
Facilities” (Contract).

Reclamation would construct the Project facilities, and pursuant to the Contract, transfer
the ownership of the pump station and appurtenances to PCWA for operation and
The decision is to implement the Proposed Project, identified and discussed in the
FEIS/EIR as the Mid-Channel Diversion Alternative.”
Contract No. 02-LC-20-7790
Contract No. 02-LC-20-7790 (2003 contract) was executed by Reclamation on September 11,
2003 after adoption of the Record of Decision for the project. The 2003 contract provides in
relevant parts:
“Project Facilities to be Constructed
3. (a) Project facilities to be constructed pursuant to this Contract shall enable
the AGENCY to divert water from the American River near Auburn, California into its
Auburn Ravine Tunnel on a year-round basis. Project facilities shall … include, but not
be limited to: A screened intake structure of sufficient size to allow diversion of not less
than 225 cubic feet per second (“cfs”) of water from the American River; A year-round
pipeline of sufficient capacity to convey to the Pump Station such water as is diverted
from the intake; A pumping station of sufficient capacity to allow future increase of
diversions to an instantaneous rate of 225 cfs; Pumps of sufficient capacity to allow
instantaneous diversion of 100 cfs of water from the American River, with adequate
backup electrical power and pumping facilities as may be dictated by prudent design
guidelines; A discharge pipe capable of delivering up to 100 cfs from the Pump Station
into the Auburn Ravine Tunnel; All-weather roads sufficient to enable the AGENCY to
conduct all necessary operation, maintenance, repair and reconstruction of the Project and
the Auburn Ravine Tunnel. Such roads, adjacent slopes and associated surface water
runoff control facilities shall be designed and constructed so that the roads remain
Project Costs
4. (a) Except where costs are made the responsibility of the AGENCY under the
express terms of this contract, the UNITED STATES shall be responsible for the
reasonable and necessary costs associated with the Project, including: The design of the
Project facilities; The preparation of all necessary environmental documentation and
implementation and monitoring of any necessary mitigation measures; All required
construction, management, construction inspection and construction engineering services;
All on site grading, road construction, stabilization work, runoff control, restoration and
re-vegetation work; Required river gradient control structures; All safety facilities; and
The cost of the diversion structure, conveyance pipeline to the Pump Station, the Pumps,
the Pump Station and the discharge pipeline to the Auburn Ravine Tunnel, all sized for
100 cfs capacity. The AGENCY shall pay the incremental costs of materials and
construction necessary to enable the facilities to deliver water at rates in excess of 100
cfs. Such payments by the AGENCY shall be made in advance of construction of any
such facilities by the UNITED STATES.
Operations and Maintenance
7. (a) Upon approval by the AGENCY of the Notice of Completion of
Construction issued by the UNITED STATES, the AGENCY, without expense to the
UNITED STATES, shall care for, operate, and maintain the Project facilities.
Grant of Real Property Interest
8. Within 12 months of the AGENCY’s approval of the UNITED STATES’ Notice
of Completion of Construction of the Project facilities, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, the UNITED STATES shall grant to AGENCY title to the Project facilities,
and a recordable indefeasible easement, easements, or other interest in lands, in a form
acceptable to the County of Placer, sufficient to provide AGENCY with permanent, yearround
access to all Project facilities and to the Auburn Ravine Tunnel, for maintenance,
operation, enlargement, repair, reconstruction, and, if necessary for continued reliable
operation, for relocation of Project facilities, and for electrical power lines necessary to
operate and maintain the Project. Said real property interests shall include sufficient
rights to allow the AGENCY access to the river for future construction and operation of
facilities to divert water pursuant to its appropriative rights under its Middle Fork
Following the completion of the final EIR/EIS, issuance of a Biological Opinion of no jeopardy,
adoption of the ROD, execution of the 2003 contract and commencement of construction,
Reclamation determined that Congressional authorization would be required in order for it to
properly affect the transfer of the pump station and easements to the Agency.
Construction Costs
Reclamation share (per the 2003 contract) 37.42 M
PCWA oversizing 12.80 M
Total estimated construction cost $49.60 Million
PCWA contributed funds 17.00 M
PCWA oversizing 12.80 M
Total PCWA cost for construction $29.80 Million
Total Reclamation cost for construction $20.42 Million