Placer County Water Agency FERC Relicensing


Placer County Water Agency’s hydroelectric system is located on the Middle Fork of the American River. The project was built for water supply and generation and includes two major reservoirs and five powerhouses. As required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Agency is currently in the process of obtaining a new license to continue operating its hydroelectric facilities. ECORP has been heavily involved in support of the relicensing effort since 2003. Much of the support provided by ECORP revolves around the development of a simulation model of the project operations. The simulation model is a tool that can be used to evaluate the various project operations proposals that will ultimately be evaluated and refined, resulting in a settlement agreement to be included in the new FERC license conditions.


The cornerstone of any water systems simulation model is the hydrology. In support of the hydrology development, ECORP evaluated the available project flow data and developed a Hydrology Study Plan with input from resource agency representatives. The study plan identified methods of hydrology development for individual streams, and data gaps where little flow data existed. Included in the Hydrology Study Plan, were recommendations for the installation of additional gages to help fill some of the data gaps and to support future planners. In addition, the agency requested the installation of gages to support project operations. On behalf of PCWA, ECORP obtained the necessary environmental permits for the installation and monitoring of 12 gages within the Middle Fork Project area. ECORP continues to monitor those gages throughout the year, using a variety of travel methods, including truck, ATV, helicopter, boat and snowmobile. The data obtained from these gages support the development of the hydrology.


ECORP has expertise with the ability to analyze the effects of water supply and water reliability projects. Our team of hydrologists and fluvial geomorphologists has experience assessing impacts to water supply and conveyance through hydrologic modeling and stream gaging. This approach has been successfully implemented in the following projects:


  • Middle Fork Project water rights extension (recently awarded to consultant team)
  • Auburn Pump Station gage completion and calibration (ongoing)
  • Auburn Ravine stream gage installations Phase I (ongoing)
  • Auburn Ravine stream gage installations Phase II (ongoing)
  • LL Anderson Spillway modification project operations analysis
  • Long-term water supply planning
  • Sacramento Water Forum negotiation assistance
  • Multiple Middle Fork Project water sales negotiation assistance
  • Middle Fork Project yield studies
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