Deadline approaches to vote for or against Tuscan Water District Some TWD residents say they had no chance to become board candidates

Landowners in the proposed Tuscan Water District received this ballot in the mail.

by Leslie Layton
posted Sept. 16

Ballots on whether to form the Tuscan Water District (TWD) in northwestern Butte County have been mailed to landowners — without any argument opposing a formation. The proposed district was the subject of debate for hours at public meetings earlier this year.

Only an argument in favor of formation of TWD -– which will have a landowner-based voting structure that will give the largest enterprises thousands of votes -– appears on the ballot that must be postmarked by Sept. 20. The ballot asks, with a single question, whether TWD should be approved with an annual parcel assessment of up to $10 per acre. Landowning voters can also choose nine people for the board of directors from a list of 11 candidates, most of whom are known already as TWD proponents. read more

Butte County water levels at critical low point Major crop loss expected in some areas

photo courtesy of DWR
Aerial drone view of West Branch Feather River in May of this year.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Sept. 9

Butte County faces a worsening drought and a dim outlook for water supplies amid another year of extreme heat and little rain, as pressure on local water management to conserve grows.

The Butte County Water Commission met Sept. 7 to discuss current groundwater supply and drought levels, led by Vice Chair Matt Tennis filling in for the chair. County officials reported a dire situation that has been worsened due to low precipitation and snowpack and reduced reservoir conditions, which combined with higher temperatures puts more pressure on groundwater demand. As a result, over the last 20 years, data shows the majority of all local basins are in an ongoing decline, according to Kelly Peterson, county water resources scientist. read more

Sinkholes in Orland area raise new water concerns Public records reveal problems on ag land around Stony Creek

photo courtesy of the Sacramento Valley Mirror
Public records recently released to the water monitoring nonprofit AquAlliance show sinkholes like this one appearing east of Orland.

by Todd Bishop
Sacramento Valley Mirror
posted April 20, 2022

Glenn County — State and local officials have been quietly looking into the emergence of numerous sinkholes starting last summer and fall on agricultural land east of Orland, in the area of Stony Creek, according to newly released public records.

Many of the sinkholes are relatively small and shallow, a few feet wide and less than a foot deep, for example. However, there are isolated reports of bigger sinkholes, as wide as 10 to 12 feet. read more

County supervisors endorse new water district Tuscan Water District creates water oligarchy, critics say

photo by Karen Laslo
Supervisor Tod Kimmelshue: “I believe we should use all of our county resources, including surface water.”

by Leslie Layton

The Butte County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to endorse the formation of a new, landowner-run water district in which members will get one vote per acre of land they own. Members may also have to pay a hefty fee to belong to the governing body that will have authority to implement projects affecting the region’s aquifer.

The proposed Tuscan Water District (TWD) was endorsed by board Chair Bill Connelly and supervisors Tod Kimmelshue and Doug Teeter after hearing more than two hours of impassioned testimony from dozens of members of the public. (District 2 Supervisor Debra Lucero cast the lone vote in opposition and District 3 Supervisor Tami Ritter left the meeting early because of a personal emergency.) read more