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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 017-91025; El Dorado Irrigation District
DSR ID# 75592,75593,79431; El Dorado Canal
Citation: FEMA-1155-DR-CA; PA ID 017-91025; DSR 75592, 75593 and 79431.
Cross Reference: Winter storm and flooding; damage to water canal; emergency water supply.
Summary: The New Year 1997 winter storms damaged the El Dorado canal, a waterway that conveyed water from the El Dorado Hydroelectric Project belonging to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), to the El Dorado Irrigation District's (EID's) Forebay Reservoir and water treatment plant. EID supplied potable water to three towns and irrigation water to one from this reservoir. EID paid PG&E $3 per acre-foot for the water under a 1919 contract. In 1996, PG&E and EID signed a purchase agreement whereby EID would purchase PG&E facilities subject to approval by appropriate regulatory commissions. In the aftermath of the disaster, FEMA wrote many DSRs for EID for debris clearing, emergency measures and permanent repairs. The subject of this appeal are three Category B DSRs that were written for a combined total of $605,071 to pay for additional water and electric costs of pumping the water for a period of 9 months after the disaster. The DSRs were declared ineligible. The applicant appealed and the Regional Director denied the appeal for the same reasons-an emergency did not exist and increased operating expenses of utilities were ineligible. In the second appeal, the applicant increased water and power costs by $292,663 to $897,734 extending the period to November 30, 1998, and added $1,843,967 for installing and eventually removing a temporary bypass pipeline around the damaged section of the canal.
Issue: Should FEMA be responsible for the water and power costs the applicant represents as emergency?
Findings: No. EID drew the reservoir down from its full level after the disaster to a low level two months later. Only then did the Board of Directors consider any conservation measures. In the face of this situation, the Board still provided irrigation water but at a reduced flow.
Rationale: FEMA's policy derived from the Stafford Act and the governing regulations provides that increased operating costs of utilities, even if the result of a disaster, are not eligible for disaster assistance. No emergency situation existed.