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Miocene Canal water woes: delivering H20

New movement in effort to return water to the Miocene Canal after damage from the Camp Fire

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 8:35 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 10:06 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – There is a proposal on the table to get much-needed water flowing once again into the Miocene Canal.
The Camp Fire destroyed a vital link of the canal which runs some 25 miles along the Feather River.

Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough spent time talking with Water Resource representatives of Butte County and property owners to learn more about the new plan.

Since the fire water has not reached property, orchard and cattle owners along the lower Miocene. Now, after months of worries about how to get water, there is a possible short-term fix under consideration.

Property owner Ed Cox has been heavily involved in efforts to work with other stakeholders and PG&E representatives to craft a solution.

“If you don’t have water on your property, your property is worthless,” says Cox who says he is now facing the possibility of seeing a deep well on his property running low.

For those whose property and livelihoods rely on getting water, not only to their homes, but crops, orchards and livestock, finding a solution could be a matter of life or death.

Yarbough spoke with several other neighbors who live in the same area s Cox. They too say their wells are running dry and they are worried about how they will get water.

“This is not much different than a severe drought; it’s an emergency situation,” says Paul Gosselin, the Director of Water & Resource Conservation.

Under PG&E’s plea agreement for its responsibility in the Camp Fire, the utility agreed to provide up to 15-million dollars over the next five years to figure out a way to get water back into the Miocene Canal.

Yarbough joined Gosselin at Lime Saddle Marina to learn more about a new proposal aimed at delivering water.

Gosselin says the plan is to literally suck water OUT of Lake Oroville to transport the much-needed H-2-0 to those in need.

“There will be a small barge put into the lake that will have a pump and pipes and it will be pumping water out of Lake Oroville, explained Gosselin.

“The advantage of Lime Saddle is it’s the closet point to where the canal runs, and we will be able to put the same amount of water that would replicate the amount before the fire and get water back into the system.

Gosselin says for years the Miocene Canal, over 100 years old, has been fraught with issues; many he says simply amplified by the Camp Fire.

“This is considered a temporary solution for the next three to five years. There will be a continued discussion for long term permanent solutions to give people more reliable water.” Said Gosselin.

While the proposal is being discussed there is not yet a timeline for when this idea would be implemented; as there are numerous permit and fee details to work out.

However, Gosselin and homeowners say they are hopeful this concept will move forward and provide at least a temporary fix for those who need water.

The information meeting is set for Friday, July 24, 2020, at 11 a.m. It is virtual and open to the public.

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The final Friday of November was a beautiful one for northern California with plentiful sunshine, warmer than average temperatures and weaker wind. We can expect plenty of sunshine and continued mild weather this weekend.
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