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Supervisors Taking Another Shot At Paradise-Chico Water Pipe

A study on a pipe to carry water from Paradise to Chico will be back before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The $144,000 study to see if the project was feasible was first approved on a 4-1 vote by the supervisors on Sept. 10.

Half the cost would be paid out of a $1.1 million Proposition 1 grant the county received to study ways to reduce reliance on groundwater, as required by a recent state law.

L to R: Colter Shannon, Toby Stoneburner, Matt Perez, and Austin Wendt, stand in front of the utility vehicle they will take to Paradise, Calif. to help with water repairs from November’s treacherous Camp Fire. Photo: FPUD

Fallbrook PUD Crews Help Paradise Camp Fire Recovery Efforts

Crews from the Fallbrook Public Utility District are helping rebuild water services in Paradise, Calif. after the devastating November 2018 Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,793 structures, caused 85 deaths and three firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest, most destructive fire in California’s history, according to CAL FIRE.

Colter Shannon and Austin Wendt left the FPUD yard Sept. 22 to make the 565-mile, 10-hour drive to Paradise. On Sept. 29, two more FPUD crew members, Toby Stoneburner and Matt Perez, will depart for the Butte County town. Each two-member team will spend two days driving and five days working on repairs for a total of seven days.

“I just want to help,” said Wendt. “That town went through devastation and I can actually do something to physically help. My wife and I always send backpacks to places devastated by hurricanes. For the most recent one, we sent 25 backpacks stuffed with school supplies.”

San Diego water agencies help Paradise Irrigation District

The Paradise Irrigation District is still struggling to repair the damaged infrastructure that resulted in more than 10,500 customers being issued a “do not drink” water advisory.

Two other San Diego County water agencies recently helped Camp Fire recovery efforts. Six water professionals from the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District spent one week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District.

Fallbrook PUD crews will bring back lessons learned to community

Their time away won’t cost FPUD a penny as their labor is reimbursed by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re doing this because we recognize that we are in a fire-prone area here in Fallbrook,” said Jack Bebee, FPUD general manager.

The Rice Fire in 2007 burned 206 homes, 9,472 acres, two commercial properties, and 40 outbuildings in the Fallbrook area. Bebee said he knows Fallbrook may one day need the help the crews are now providing to Paradise.

He said the crews can bring back with them some of the lessons they learn from the destruction and repair work. Bebee said the district is also working with North County Fire on emergency preparedness and the FPUD board room has been set up as an emergency command center in the event it is needed.

Two Southern California Water Districts Send Personnel to Aid Paradise Irrigation District

The Camp Fire in the community of Paradise and other locations in Butte County cut a wide swatch of destruction in the rural community. It is regarded as the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. At least 85 perish in the fire storm and it destroyed 18,804 structures. It covered almost 240 sq. miles and total damages have been estimated at $16.5 billion.

First Step Taken Toward Pipe Bringing Water From Paradise to Chico

An idea to pipe water from Paradise to Chico took its first step Wednesday, when the Paradise Irrigation District board signed off on a feasibility study for the proposal.

The plan might seem far-fetched at first glance, but it would solve a couple of problems. In the short-term, PID needs someone to buy its water in order to stay solvent, as most of its customers were burned out by the Camp Fire last November. In the long-term, California Water Service’s Chico Division needs an additional source of water to ease its complete dependence on wells.

(L to R) Helix WD employees John Wilson, Eric Hughes, Dan Baker and Bryan Watte, and Padre Dam MWD workers Jesse Knowles and Austin Darley. Photo: Helix Water District Paradise Irrigation District

San Diego Water Pros Aid Paradise Irrigation District Following Camp Fire

Six water professionals from the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District spent one week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District with disaster recovery in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire burned through the town of Paradise, California in November 2018. CAL FIRE reported the fire burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures and resulted in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, according to CAL FIRE.

Ten months later, Paradise remains hard at work on recovery efforts.

The fire caused significant damage to the Paradise Irrigation District’s infrastructure. As a result, more than 10,500 customers fell under a “Do Not Drink” advisory due to contamination from several harmful volatile organic compounds in distribution pipelines.

Austin Darley and Jesse Knowles hard at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Austin Darley (kneeling) and Jesse Knowles hard at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Padre Dam employees Austin Darley and Jesse Knowles, and Helix employees John Wilson, Dan Baker, Eric Hughes and Bryan Watte, spent a week in Paradise working to help ensure water system safety. While most customers have water service restored, the water quality is being carefully monitored.

“The majority of the work we did revolved around keeping customers in water during a three-day testing period, and reestablishing water service through a plastic jumper after samples had been drawn,” said Darley.

State emergency assistance system activated to provide mutual aid

Helix and Padre Dam are among 14 member agencies and the Water Authority participating in the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, or CalWARN, to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual assistance processes for public and private water and wastewater utilities.

Damage remaining from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

Damage remaining from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

“This program is like an insurance policy that can provide assistance when an emergency becomes larger than our internal resources can deal with,” said Melissa McChesney, Padre Dam Communications Manager. “The situation Paradise Irrigation District finds themselves in is a good example of this. We also have agreements with neighboring water agencies in which we call upon each other for equipment or staffing when needed.”

The agencies identified staff with the skills and experience to help the Paradise Irrigation District. All agreed to volunteer for the mutual aid mission. Padre Dam employees Jesse Knowles and Austin Darley were selected to help.

“Jesse and I feel very blessed to work for an organization that is passionate about helping those in need,” said Darley. “It was an important reminder that recovery efforts continue long after the disaster leaves the news. Paradise is still in need of our thoughts, prayers, and help.”

Recovery effort not over for Paradise Irrigation District

Padre Dam Municipal Water District and Helix Water District crews at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

Padre Dam Municipal Water District and Helix Water District crews at work in Paradise, California. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

“There’s a lot of work up here but the town is healing,” wrote Helix employee Dan Baker while working in Paradise. “I think I speak for all four of us when I say I’m proud to be a part of this.”

Water service for burned lots will be replaced as recovery progresses and new homes are built.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to assist our fellow Californians with this recovery effort,” added Darley. “Although we exist 600 miles apart we all have the same goal, to deliver safe and reliable drinking water to our residents and communities.”

San Diego Water Pros Aid Paradise Irrigation District Following Camp Fire

Six water professionals from the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District spent one week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District with disaster recovery in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire burned through the town of Paradise, California in November 2018. CAL FIRE reported the fire burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures and resulted in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, according to CAL FIRE.