Lindsay continues preparing for summer water shortage

Though city officials are optimistic toward receiving a vital emergency water allocation, steps are still being taken for a “worst-case scenario”

LINDSAY – Lindsay is taking steps to mitigate a potential water shortage in the event that the emergency allocation the city applied for in order to meet this summer’s water needs is not approved. 

At a city council meeting on April 26, city services and planning assistant director Neyba Amezcua gave council what she described as a much more positive update from the previous week’s. 

Amezcua said that the city has requested proposals to update a study done on Well 11, the highly-contaminated well that will have to be utilized if the emergency allocation isn’t granted by the Bureau of Reclamation. 

However, after a conversation with the Bureau, Amezcua is optimistic that the allocation will be approved. 

“They couldn’t tell me when they’re going to make the decision but they think that in the next week or two we will be hearing from them, and she seemed very positive that the outcome is going to be favorable for us,” Amezcua said at the meeting. She added that Lindsay has submitted a letter to the Bureau with previously-requested information regarding the city’s water management process, specifically what has been done in terms of water conservation over the past year. The letter highlights changes to the city’s water conservation plan, including a modification that limits the number of days residents and businesses can irrigate their lawns from twice per week to once. 

“When I was telling them that, her response was very, very positive. She really liked that we’re moving forward with that,” Amezcua said. 

Amezcua also mentioned the city’s plan to purchase leftover water from the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, a project aimed at restoring fish populations and managing water supply levels throughout 150 miles of the San Joaquin River. 

“When they have projects, they’re not able to use all the water that is allocated to them. In this case, they have some projects that they’re working on at the river, and they’re not able to use the water. So what they do is they sell it to whoever wants to buy it. We got first dibs on it,” Amezcua said. 

She added that at $188.87 per acre-foot, Lindsay’s commitment to buy 125 acre-feet won’t be cheap. But if the emergency allocation isn’t granted, it’ll be what gets the city’s water supply to last through July. 

According to city manager Joe Tanner, Lindsay has reached out to all its partners and resources regarding the issue, including the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services, Self Help Enterprises, Senator Melissa Hurtado’s office, the State Water Resources Control Board and “a number of other folks to try to get our arms around what resources are potentially available to us pending the worst case scenario,” he said. 

Lindsay has also begun public outreach on the issue, including posting banners around town and scheduling meetings with the city’s top water users on how to prepare for the potential shortage.

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