posted 2/8/12 by Kathy Whitlow, Operations Manager

The Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD), Northstar Community Services District (NSCSD) and Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) continue its partnership in developing a groundwater management plan and groundwater model for the Martis Valley basin. Along with several other organizations, Truckee River Watershed Council sits on the Stakeholder Working Group and provides feedback. The plan will be several years in development. Recently, we received a press release from the three agencies announcing a new aspect of the plan. The partnership will gain further technical resources with the addition of a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) study of climate change impacts to recharge and groundwater quality in the Martis Valley.

Previous studies have indicated that some water in the Martis Valley groundwater basin may be in excess of 1,000 years old. And in the case of groundwater, older seems better as the age of water indicates how fast it is moving, how it is being replenished in the basin, and the outlook for long-term sustainable supplies. The LLNL water aging study will help further the ongoing efforts to determine how the aquifer functions.

The LLNL study is being funded by the State of California Groundwater Ambient Monitoring & Assessment Special Studies Program. The results of the study will supplement and validate the Martis Valley groundwater model being prepared under a separate grant to the Desert Research Institute (DRI) by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Martis GW Basin & Partnership Agencies Service AreasThe local water agencies set out with a goal of developing a groundwater model and plan to ensure the long-term supply of water for their customers. The partner agencies contributed $250,000 to the initial costs, based on their number of connections. This collaborative effort had previously leveraged an additional $500,000 in federal funding from the Bureau of Reclamation and the LLNL study now brings the total project funding to over $1,000,000.

The Martis Valley aquifer includes a 35,000-acre area in both Placer and Nevada counties. It is the main water supply for numerous public and private entities. This area has seen significant growth in the last two decades with more planned for the future. Maintaining an adequate water supply and protecting water quality are critical for the region’s future.

Project information may be found at You may also click here for TRWC’s past posting on the groundwater management plan.