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Foothill Raw Water Pipeline

Placer County Water Agency

2021 Outstanding Water Project Award

West Yost announces that the American Society of Civil Engineers, Sacramento Section has awarded the Foothill Raw Water Pipeline with the 2021 Outstanding Water Project Award. Construction cost: $20 million

With construction beginning in February 2020 and concluding in the end of 2021, the Foothill Raw Water Pipeline Project’s purpose is to pump water from the American River and deliver it to the Foothill Treatment Plant, located in Newcastle, CA. The completion of this project is Placer County Water Agency’s (PCWA’s) “Golden Spike”, connecting the Middle Fork American River Project to the south Placer water system. For the first time, PCWA can deliver water to customers completely independent of PG&E’s Drum Spaulding hydroelectric project (the South Canal).

The project begins at the American River Pump Station.

The project moves water directly from the American River at the American River Pump Station to the roughly 82,000 households it serves through its treatment plants. The project included design and construction of
more than one and a half miles of new pipeline pipe with an elevation increase of 165 feet to the top of the hill at Indian Hill Road; two energy dissipation structures, and a hydraulic control standpipe.

Completion of the Foothill Raw Water Pipeline Project represents the fulfillment of the Agency’s vision to build greater water resilience and reliability for the people of Placer County.

The project continues by way of the Foothill Recycled Water Pipeline.

Prior to this project’s completion PCWA and customers relied on PG&E’s South Canal for water delivery. During PG&E scheduled maintenance, shutdowns, and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSP); and natural disasters like wildfires, the reliability and capacity of water was at risk for residents – therefore negatively impacting the resilience of these communities. Portions of the canal is above ground and delivered raw water to residents.

Visioning increased resilience the project provides independent water supply from the previous PG&E South Canal supply. In summary, the project:

  • builds water supply redundancy through the Foothill Raw Water pipeline,
  • increases reliability during impactful events by bypassing PG&E’s South Canal and removing the reliance on water supplied from the PG&E source,
  • improves the quality of water to customers,
  • and offers additional capacity for future customers and population growth in the region.

To facilitate project planning, the contractor hired an outside geotechnical firm to conduct additional borings and provide Securing the economic future of Placer County was the vision of PCWA’s forefathers has been the driving force behind the completion of these projects.

“They knew if we didn’t have water resources in this county, it was going to be a dry county that didn’t have an economy. And what we have now is probably the best economy of any foothill county in the state, maybe one of the best economies anywhere, and part of that is just this backbone and vision our forefathers built, and now it’s our job to keep up and prove and maintain and build upon.”

-PCWA General Manager Andy Fecko
A sky view of the project location.
The final destination is the Foothill Water Treatment Plant.

This project is a partnership between all the Cities, Towns, communities, and unincorporated areas in that Placer County Water Agency serves. Construction of the pipeline traversed between the Cities of Newcastle and Auburn, CA. Placer County Board Members and the staff with in the five Districts have worked collaboratively to accomplish and celebrate this interagency project.

Completing this project is the final link that connects the Middle Fork Project water supply to the West Placer water system, a system that is the Agency’s largest drinking water system, a system that provides drinking water for homes and businesses and critical fire protection to the communities of Newcastle, Penryn, Loomis, Rocklin, Lincoln, vast areas of unincorporated Placer County, and is an emergency backup to Roseville and the San Juan Water District through emergency interconnections we have in place.

Previously, South Placer County relied on PG&E’s South Canal for water supply. While PCWA will continue to use the pipeline they do not rely on it an longer and can bypass the Canal when PG&E performs annual maintenance.

Additional project details:

PCWA provided an video overview of the project to provide greater water reliability to residents.
This time lapse video demonstrates a day’s worth of work to modify existing infrastructure.

Photo credit: Placer County Water Agency