Diamond Ditch Water Shut Off without notice - Residents object
To: Board of Directors of El Dorado Irrigation District
Dear Honorable members of the Board:
My name is Douglas Noble and I reside at 4793 Juno Lane, Placerville, CA (mailing address P.O. Box 313, Diamond Springs, CA 95619).
I sincerely request that this be letter presented to your Board at this, your June 9, 2014 meeting.
I would prefer to personally appear before your board today, but I cannot, due to the lack of timely notice from you and the fact I am obligated to fulfill a promise to assist with judging at the El Dorado County Fair this morning.
I have a number of issues I would like to point out, such as the legality of your action draining the East Diamond Ditch, the lack of notice and others. But, I will stay within my expertise as a biologist and former Assistant Director of Planning for the County of El Dorado.
THIS IS SHORT NOTICE, BUT SINCE WE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR PENDING ACTION UNTIL IT OCCURRED, AS A CUSTOMER OF YOURS FOR WATER FROM THE EAST DIAMOND DITCH, I DEMAND THAT SUFFICIENT WATER BE IMMEDIATELY DIRECTED INTO THE DITCH TO SERVE ALL THE EXISTING CUSTOMERS AND THAT A COMPLETE ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS BE DONE ON THE POSSIBLE, AND SIGNIFICANT, EFFECTS OF DRAINING SAID DITCH.
Since I first acquired this property in 1976, I have paid for and had an account with you for ½ miner’s inch of water from the East Diamond Ditch. I do not have my ditch account number handy, as I now pay my bills automatically bi-monthly, but you should be able to find it easily.
Last Monday, June 2, 2014, I noticed that the ditch was very low. As I normally do when the ditch is low, I contacted your office. I was told that you were in the process of shutting off the water to Clear Creek and our ditch. Why, the person I talked with did not know.
About the same time I received a message from a friend who lives on Clear Creek telling me that, indeed, their water was being terminated.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of the same week, I received a small amount of ditch water, but by Thursday afternoon, it was all gone and the ditch was just a series of small ponds.
On Friday I contacted your office and received a return call from a Mr. Gibson, who told me that the State had required EID to terminate the water flow in the East Diamond Ditch. I was given a “hotline” number for the California Water Resources Board. When I called that number I was greeted by a recording that said they would get back to me. As of yet, they haven’t.
Reason for my demand:
I have a degree in biology and from 1974 until 1983 served as the Environmental Planner for the County of El Dorado and, ultimately, the Assistant Planning Director. In that capacity, on several occasions I was called upon to assist the State of California when they were preparing amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 and help write the Guidelines. Although I am no longer working day to day with the Act, I am familiar with the process.
1. The East Diamond Ditch is a habitat for numerous species of plants and animals.
The list of small animals that I have personally observed in the ditch include trout, sunfish, salamanders, crayfish, frogs (including tree frogs, bullfrogs and Foothill Yellow-legged frogs). It is also possible habitat for the California Red-legged frog.
The list of larger animals I have observed or seen the tracks of using the ditch as a water and/or food source include squirrels, racoons, opossum, skunks, fox, deer, bear, turkeys, ducks and more. In addition, numerous species of small birds use it as a source of water and food. The list of small invertebrates is too long to itemize.
2. Significant vegetation.
Without listing the vegetation I notice growing in and around the ditch, I have growing on the ditch a Golden Cup oak tree which your own people were told would die if the ditch bypassed it. At that time they were trying to repair a leak that appears to be under the tree and did not repair the ditch at that location for that reason.
The tree is very large and, according to a specialist hired by you, is somewhere between 400 and 600 years of age. Depriving it of water that has flowed to it for 162 years, will kill it and make me, and many others, very upset.
In addition, there are many groves of trees near the ditch which will likely die for lack of water.
3. Private water wells.
There are a number of private water wells just to the west of the ditch, along a known fault, and at least two springs. I have about 5 years of experience working in the field of shallow geophysics and have also observed water flowing out of the hillside near the wells when the ditch is full.
Based on my experience and observations, I believe that many of these wells, if not all, are historically replenished by water seeping from the ditch, again, a ditch that has been in use for 162 years.
It is a great possibility that these wells will fail unless there is water in the ditch. This too will not make any of us happy and affect us all financially.
4. The ditch is our only major source of water to fight a fire.
We purchase water from the ditch all year, mostly to be sure we will have it to rely on should there be an emergency. Without the water in the ditch, for us and the fire department to use, we will most likely lose the battle.
5. The Ditch Is Now a Breeding Ground for Mosquitoes and More
Mosquitoes are a significant problem this year. Already I have observed adult mosquitoes hovering near and landing on the pools of stagnating water to lay their eggs. You are creating a serious medical problem by your actions.
I am very serious in this demand, as are many others in my area, specifically other ditch customers. This act by you has been devastating to us and seriously affects the value of our property and our way of life.