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Repair made to damaged canal which prompted water conservation warning for 14,000 foothill residents

A tree fell on a portion of the gold-rush era water system severing the main source of water for some Tuolumne County residents leaving 400 without any water.

SONORA, Calif — Update Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m.

After warning thousands of water customers in the rural Tuolumne county foothills to conserve and blocking the supply of water altogether for 400 people, the Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) now reports that their main canal has been repaired. 

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) maintains the more than a century-old system and made repairs allowing water to begin flowing through the canal system again on Saturday, Jan. 1. As a result of a severe snowstorm, a tree fell on a flume carrying TUD's pipeline of water Dec. 28. 

The damage to the pipeline was not the only damage reported across TUD's system. The utility also reports that other ditches in their system had minor to major damage. TUD hopes to restore the regular flow of water to all customers by the end of the week, according to an update published by the utility. 

Original Story Dec. 29

Officials with the Tuolumne Utilities District are warning customers to conserve water after a tree fell during recent storms, severing a raised pipeline which normally supplies water to more than 14,000 Tuolumne County foothill residents. 400 of those residents are currently not receiving water.

According to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the company which maintains the pipeline and water system, a tree fell on a flume structure supporting the utility's main water pipeline. The damage, deemed to have been caused by a recent snowstorm, was first detected Dec. 28 and a repair is now underway, according to Jeff Smith, a PG&E spokesperson. 

Credit: PG&E
A tree has fallen on a flume supporting a pipeline of water through Tuolumne County.

Smith says they anticipate the repair to be completed by Saturday contingent on weather conditions. In the meantime, the Tuolumne Utilities District has activated their water storage tanks and expect to be able to supply their customers with water until a repair is made, according to spokesperson Lisa Westbrook. 400 raw water ditch customers, however, are not receiving water due to the canal failure. 

The Tuolumne Utilities District issued a water conservation warning Tuesday asking customers to conserve water until the repair is made, in order to maximize their water capacity in their tanks. 

The district has also partnered with Twain Harte Community Services District to move water through their system in the Twain Harte area. 

The water system, which runs through mountainous terrain, was built in the 1850s originally meant to provide water to gold miners in the area. 

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