Water Service

Source and System Description

The District maintains and operates two sources that provide the community's drinking water.  The primary source is Lake Serena (the northernmost of the two lakes) with a pumping and treatment capacity of up to 345 gallons per minute. A 600-foot deep well with a capacity of approximately 60 gallons per minute is permitted as a backup supply in the event of surface water contamination or if the lake intake pump station is inoperable for an extended period of time.  The well cannot be used more than 15 days/year or more than five days in a row without prior permission from the State Water Resources Control Board. 

The District’s Water Rights Permit #14248 allows direct diversion (i.e. to the pumps) of up 394 acre-feet per year and diversion to storage of up 783 acre-feet of water during the months of October through June. The Permit’s allowable uses are: municipal, industrial (snowmaking < 9,000 gallons/day November 1st through December 31st), fish culture and recreation. 

The water system consists of two intake pumps located in a building at the northern end of Lake Serena, a treatment plant located in the bottom floor of the District's Administration Building, a 460,000 gallon steel storage tank adjacent to the plant and a 300,000 gallon concrete distribution tank located on the northern end of the District’s service area above Pahatsi Road. Water flows by gravity from this tank into the District’s distribution system which consists of one pressure zone with piping ranging from 4-inches to 12-inches in diameter. 

The water treatment process begins at the intake station where soda ash, potassium permanganate and a polymer coagulant are injected into the raw water. The water is then pumped to the plant where it flows through a contact clarifier and three direct pressure filters operating in parallel.  After filtration the water is disinfected with chlorine, zinc orthophosphate is added for corrosion control and then stored temporarily in the office tank to complete the treatment process before being pumped to the distribution tank. Water from the well is not treated other than the addition of chlorine for disinfection. Water System Schematic

Annual Fee for Service

The fee for water service is a flat rate of $1,246 per year. The District is moving toward the implementation of a consumption based rate beginning January 1, 2025. The use of an automated meter read system will be necessary as the manual reading of meters is not possible due to the amount of snow but that technology is currently limited by poor cellular phone connectivity. 

New Construction 

Connection of a new home requires completion an Application for Water/Sewer Connection Permit and payment of a $1,825 facility fee.  Detailed information on the process is available here.

Click Here: Instructions to Applicant

Click Here: Application for Water & Sewer Connection

Remodels and Additions

All plans for remodels or additions (regardless of the scope of work) must be submitted directly to the District for review. There are no additional fees for the addition of plumbing fixtures but the water service pipe from the house to the street must be pressure tested, all existing plumbing fixtures must be low-flow and the installation of a meter pit is required if not already present before the project is considered complete.  Detailed information on the process is available here: Instructions to Applicant


Some residents leave water faucets "cracked" to keep pipes from freezing when the house is empty and the heat is turned down or off. This practice increases the District's operating expenses (and, indirectly, your bill) in four ways: costs of treating water at the plant increase, additional power is required to pump water from the lake to the distribution system, power is required to pump what is now wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant and the payment to the Donner Summit PUD for treating the water.

A much better method of preventing frozen pipes is the use of a stop&drain valve, which is required on the incoming pipe of every water service.  When the valve is in the 'off' position, water is stopped from coming into the house; more importantly, the drain port of the valve empties the pipes in the house so there is nothing to freeze.

Proper installation and operation of the stop&drain valve is essential.  The valve must be at the low point of the household plumbing so that all water in the pipes will follow gravity to the valve when it is 'off'.  When switching from 'on' to 'off' (or vice versa), make certain that you turn the valve completely to the new position (they differ by 90°).  If not fully in the 'on' or 'off' position, water will leak from the drain port, wasting water and possibly flooding your garage or crawl space. You can verify that the valve is fully 'on' or fully 'off' by placing your ear next to the operating handle and listening for running water; quiet is good.

To prevent water from freezing in your toilets and plumbing traps add propylene glycol antifreeze (also known as 'RV' type); do not use automotive antifreeze, which is corrosive. If you are unsure if your home has a stop&drain valve or are unsure about its proper operation, please call the Office at 530-426-7800; one of the operators will be glad to come to your home.

Water Conservation

The following water conservation measures are in effect at all times:

  • Water from the District's water distribution system shall not be allowed to pool, pond or run-off of applied areas;
  • Water leaks from any and all owner equipment and facilities are prohibited;
  • Water shall not be allowed to continually run in any unoccupied premises;
  • Potable water shall not be applied to any driveway or sidewalk;
  • Using a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, is prohibited;
  • Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated, is prohibited;
  • Outdoor irrigation during, and 48 hours following, measurable precipitation and at intervals other than as established by the Board is prohibited;
  • Irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings in a manner inconsistent with regulations or other requirements established by the California Buildings Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development is prohibited; and
  • Outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water shall e   be limited to no more than two days per week (Tuesday and Saturday for addresses ending with an odd number and Wednesday and Sunday for addresses ending with an even number).

Rebates are available for the installation of low-flow toilets (less than 1.6 gallons/flush).