An effort is underway at the Amador Water Agency to scan thousands of pages into a modern, state-­of-­the-­art document storage system. When complete, every scrap of paper that ever crossed a desk at the agency will be available for perusal by staff or qualified public with the click of a mouse.

As demonstrated by AWA Human Resources Technician Stacey Lollar, the Laserfiche system is simple to operate and nearly instantaneous in its retrieval ability. Purchase of the system was approved early in 2007 by the agency’s board of directors. Since installation of the system in October, enough agency documents have been scanned to make a demonstration possible.

When asked whether storage in cyberspace was secure, Lollar told board members that legal documents will be retained in both Laserfiche and hard copy paper form, and that Laserfiche data will be stored in at least two secure locations.

“Does a finished document get saved automatically?” asked AWA Board of Directors President John Swift.

“Well, semi­automatic,” replied board clerk Cris Thompson. “We (indicating herself and Lollar) are the automatic.”

Other AWA news had General Manager Jim Abercrombie informing the board that the Plymouth Pipeline project should be going out to bid by the end of May or early June.

Abercrombie also reported that negotiations are continuing between the agency and the city of Sutter Creek for an interim wastewater plan. The agency has been taking steps toward creation of a regional wastewater treatment plant in or slightly west of Martell. Actualization of this plant will require considerable time and expense. In the meantime, pressures for completion of projects in the Martell area could be lessened by an upgrade to the Sutter Creek wastewater treatment plant, which presently treats wastewater from the Martell Business Park.

In later discussions concerning the regional wastewater treatment plant, Abercrombie explained that the agency has been informed that state and federal funding for the future will be increasingly dependent upon regional solutions. “The agency continues to seek regional solutions for both water supply and regional wastewater recycling efforts,” he said.

Abercrombie’s report included announcement of a scheduled meeting of the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association, which is working on its contributions to the California Water Plan update. Amador County’s allocation of 15,000 acre feet from the Mokelumne River is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to the millions of acre feet of water that flows from the Sierra Nevada each year. It is important to Sierra Foothill counties to send representatives to such meetings, to provide a voice for protection of county of origin water rights. As population continues to grow, battles for water are likely to ensue.

AWA Director Terry Moore praised the efforts of staff in conducting meetings for property owners affected by imminent shutoff of ditch water and subsequent installation of a small diameter pipeline. Since completion of the 8.5­mile main transmission pipeline from Lake Tabeaud to the Tanner Reservoir, some flow has been maintained in the 23­mile ditch to continue supplying people accustomed to the availability of ditch water. Detailed plans for the future have yet to be finalized, and input from those affected is being sought at a series of meetings.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been meeting with AWA in an ongoing attempt to resolve wastewater issues in the Jackson Valley. With some assistance from Congressman Dan Lungren’s (R­Gold River) office, progress is being made in obtaining permission to pump treated water into an irrigation system for a willing cattle rancher.

Apropos this topic, AWA Director Paul Scott reported that, while visiting a water meeting in Calaveras County, he heard objections from cattle ranchers to the use of reclaimed or recycled water on their grazing land.

Plans for changes at the Lower Bear Reservoir Dam are nearing completion and will be discussed at future meetings.