North State lawmakers introduce new legislation to help save Paradise water

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assemblyman James Gallagher introduced new legislation on Monday that will help expedite the construction of the Paradise Irrigation District intertie project.

PID said after the Camp Fire, a rough estimate of customers lost was around 9,000, nearly its entire customer base. The District is searching for new revenue streams in order to sustain itself into the future and provide water to the Town of Paradise.

This new project would allow PID to temporarily sell surface water that is otherwise stranded in two reservoirs located near a water treatment facility.

“Paradise cannot re-build and thrive without a functioning water district,” said Gallagher. “At first glance, this intertie pipeline looks like a big win-win for the Town of Paradise and the county as a whole. Once the studies are complete and if this project is determined to be feasible, AB 1957 will provide a critical tool that will speed up construction timelines and provide greater resiliency to Butte County’s groundwater basins.”

AB-1957 would allow PID to utilize alternative delivery methods like design-build for the construction of the intertie project. This would provide more flexibility in design and construction for the project to be done in a timely manner.

“North State residents need more reliable water,” Senator Nielsen said. “This proposal will ensure the sustainability of a water source for our community and the continued financial health of PID as the Town of Paradise rebuilds.”

In 2019, lawmakers in the North State secured $14 million in the state budget to keep PID operational for two years. The governor’s Administration asked the district to look into long term solutions like the proposed project in order to avoid future backfill requests.

“The benefits of the intertie project are more robust than some think,” Butte County Supervisor, Doug Teeter said. “For example, delivering water down the Skyway, or a closed system pumping back and forth, would provide for other opportunities. Such as the installation of fire hydrants along with the town's main evacuation route and an opportunity for power generation bringing benefit to the County’s new Community Choice Aggregation power purchase program. Simply put, this can be much more than a temporary financial solution for PID.”

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