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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Special District

Placer County Water AgencyCandidate for Board Member, Division 5

Photo of T. Otis Wollan

T. Otis Wollan

Water Resources Consultant
11,086 votes (39.62%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • PG&E is threatening our water supply by splitting up its Yuba and Bear River canal system and selling the lower system that supplies drinking water to Placer County. There are huge uncertainties, and conflicts of interest, details at !
  • The proposed Centennial Dam threatens Placer’s water supply in three ways. It will reduce our supply of both surface and ground water, and jeopardizes reliable delivery to Placer residents.
  • Climate change is the defining issue of our era. We are already seeing how fire threatens our watersheds in the new age of climate induced mega-fires--- see !



My wife, Jane, and I moved to the Sierra foothills near Auburn in 1972. We have lived in the Colfax area since 1979 where we own 18 acres. There, we raised our three daughters, all of whom graduated from Colfax High School before completing college and entering graduate school. Jane is a schoolteacher.

I served 20 years on the Placer County Water Agency Board of Directors, and have served twice as Chairman of the Board. I worked as a homebuilder throughout the 1970's here in the foothills, then in the 1980's moved into project management, and managed three private businesses. Since then, I've gained over 20 years as a facilitator, mediator, and trainer in interest-based negotiations, organizational effectiveness, and project management.

In addition to my service on the PCWA Board, I am active in associations and organizations focused on water- and energy-related issues. I serve as the president of the American River Watershed Institute where I managed a successfulfire safety project near Colfax and a climate change study of Sierra water reliability. In 2007, I served as Chairman and Convener of the California Urban Water Conservation Council.

I also serve on the Board of P.O.W.E.R., which sponsors the annual California Water Policy Conference in Los Angeles, and I was P.O.W.E.R.'s project manager for a statewide assessment of water conservation in California. I served as the first Coordinator of the American River Watershed Group (ARWG) and first Coordinator of the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance.

In response to the threat of wildland fires to our communities, I developed a comprehensive fire plan written with feedback from my colleagues on the Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council and CalFire.

I co-authored American River: North, Middle and South Forks. I love the outdoors, particularly hiking, biking, and boating.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Water security is our greatest challenge

The Bear Canal failure in 2011 left Auburn to Rocklin high and dry taught us this -- our water source from the Bear River that supplies most of our population is not reliable and secure. It is operated by PG&E primarily for power and secondarily for water supply; it is not maintained to the level of reliability needed for a water supply system. This system must be made secure and reliable for water supply both in Placer and Nevada counties. But PG&E is now dividing the system for sale of the least dependable section on the open market. PCWA’s decisions on this issue will affect future generations--- and our current Director Josh Alpine is an employee of PG&E. Who is being represented? You? Or PG&E? Read more...

During the twenty years I served on the PCWA Board, our priority was securing our American River water supply, securing the next 50-year license for the Middle Fork Project with its new revenue stream.

There is a list of issues every candidate for PCWA Director needs to support. In many ways, this list is the pre-requisite for the job. Take a look and see if any candidate is different, and find out why:

  • continue PCWA's good management and solid financial condition
  • stabilize water rates at current levels
  • keep water quality high
  • protect our water rights
  • ensure system reliability
  • maintain the power and water systems for all generations
  • make sure development pays its own way, and growth does not occur on the shoulders of ratepayers
  • bring treated water to neighborhoods that are still unserved in Placer County
  • promote water conservation and efficient use
  • support Placer County's policy of sustaining agriculture in our area
  • collaborate with all water utilities in Placer to support water and power development throughout District 5, including Tahoe, Soda Springs, and Foresthill areas.

In serving on the PCWA Board for twenty years, I know how important these elements are, and I know these were my guiding principles. I saw the Agency prosper amid the turmoil of double digit growth, keeping a solid financial position while replacing aging pipes and treatment plants that were built in the1930's and 1950's. I helped guide the agency to a successful re-licensing of the power facilities, and gain access to our water right in the American River.

Today, the picture has changed where in addition to the principles above, the priority has to be leadership that will deliver on water security and fire safety. This can be achieved through careful stewardship of the Middle Fork Power revenues, which belong to all the people of Placer County, not special interests.

Serving my community in this way has been my passion throughout my life here, as I raised my family and worked tirelessly to build a better community. This remains my commitment to you.

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