(FOX40.COM) — The 2021 Caldor Fire devastated forestland, farmland, homes and vital infrastructure that has cost millions to rebuild including water systems operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District.
The district provides water to over 125,000 residents in El Dorado County.
On Sept. 25, the district board of directors met to review the facilities and infrastructure that have been rebuilt following the fire and what outstanding costs remain.
EID’s Senior Deputy General Counsel Elizabeth Leeper reported that 39 fire-related repairs have been documented, 29 of which were insured under the Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA JPIA).
These damages not only cost EID in repairs but also in lost revenue from severely reduced power generation rates due to the damaged flume systems.
EID was able to collect $655,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency/California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services for all fire-related projects on top of the insurance money they were able to secure.
Leeper’s presentation stated that the fire cost EID $29.2 million in repairs along with $4.59 million in hydropower losses.
They were able to collect $22.1 million in insurance recovery payments and $655,000 from FEMA.
Even with the nearly $23 million in financial assistance EID is still facing an outstanding balance of $11 million.
Leeper said she believes that EID will receive more insurance proceeds from ACWA JPIA before they close out the insurance claim along with additional FEMA funding.
“I think Caldor provides a good recent example of how important it is to make sure that we maintain our large reserves when we have these large disaster events,” Leeper said to the board.
The 2023 winter storms also damaged a significant water conduit owned by EID as several pounds of snow crushed the 36-inch wide riveted steel pipe.
That project is estimated to cost $1.3 million and take less than a month to complete the necessary repairs and upgrades.