Record Rainfall over Caldor Fire Scar Increases Sediment into Source Water Reservoirs, Impacts Water Supply

Nov. 2, 2021

Daily record rainfall rates across the region caused significant sediment loading into source water at Jenkinson Lake and Folsom Lake

California’s El Dorado Irrigation District’s service areas have received significant rainfall over the Caldor Fire burn scar, which impacted up to 85% of the watersheds surrounding the District's source water diversions. 

According to the EID, daily record rainfall rates across the region caused significant sediment loading into source water at Jenkinson Lake and Folsom Lake. Despite these conditions, EID maintains that all of the district's treated water remains safe to drink and meets or exceeds all regulatory standards.

“While the District’s water treatment plants continue producing water that meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards, they must work harder to filter any impurities until the clarity of our source water lakes improve,” said EID. “As a result, you may notice a temporary difference in taste and ‘earthy’ or ‘musty’ odors in our drinking water.”

Officials do not know how long it would take for water to return to normal, added EID.

EID staff previously learned that facilities within its El Dorado Hydroelectric Project flume and canal system sustained damage as a result of the Fire.

The flume and canal system is a component of EID’s water conveyance system, and delivers approximately one-third of EID’s drinking water supply to its customers, reported EID. Upon discovery of the damage, EID staff asked customers to do what they can to continue to meet the 15% voluntary water use reduction under the district's ongoing Stage 1 Water Alert. 

When the Caldor Fire first broke out, emergency water storage levels were optimized in its Forebay Reservoir in the event the canal and flume system was damaged.

The El Dorado Canal system is the primary means of supply to the northeastern portion of EID’s service area.

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About the Author

Cristina Tuser

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