For generations, El Dorado County leaders have fought to secure water rights to supply our current needs and satisfy future demand. Today, we all benefit from their persistence and foresight. In 2015, EID cleared a final hurdle to start using 8,500 acre-feet per year (AFY) of “area of origin” water above Kyburz – the first half of 17,000 AFY authorized.  It took over 15 years, but we obtained increased water supplies in the fourth year of a statewide drought.

Jenkinson Lake/Sly Park Dedication, 1956  (Photo source:  EID)

During the 1950s, County leaders negotiated rights to store future “area of origin” water in existing SMUD reservoirs, saving up to $100 million in construction costs. The County and EID have applied for water rights to an additional 40,000 AFY to implement this long-standing agreement.

Today, a different sort of struggle over water is taking shape in our county. This challenge does not come from downstream users who want to lay claim to our water, but from a small group within our own county, including a couple of elected members of the EID Board. Apparently, they believe we should abandon our efforts to secure new water rights, claiming it’s ‘futile’ or that we don’t need the water today. Whatever their reasoning – it’s short-sighted and flawed. Water rights applications take years and sometimes decades to finalize.

The stream of benefits that flow from water rights support agriculture, jobs, recreation, and our rural lifestyle – for ourselves, and for future generations. Where would we be today if our forefathers had been unwilling to go after El Dorado County’s water rights because it would be difficult or because they had enough water to meet their needs at the time?


Water Rights Mailer, May 2015 
Water Rights Mailer, May 2015