Where does Yuba Water Agency get its money?

The Yuba Water Agency is a public agency owned by the people of Yuba County and we use our excess revenue (gross revenue – operational expenses) to invest in Yuba County for the benefit of our residents.

Where does the money come from?

Unlike many government agencies, Yuba Water Agency isn’t funded by tax dollars.  Instead, the majority of our revenue comes from the sale of water and power to people outside Yuba County.  In other words, the investments we make for the benefit of our community come without a cost to our residents. 

Power Sales Revenue

Water stored at New Bullards Bar and Englebright Reservoir allows us to produce clean hydroelectric power for over 400,000 California households. This power is sold on the open market and the price varies based on supply and demand across the State.  The amount of revenue we receive from power sales can vary significantly from year to year depending on prices and availability of water for hydropower generation.  Learn more about our hydropower generation at https://www.yubawater.org/151/About-Yuba-Water-Hydropower 

Don’t Yuba County Residents Pay for That Power?

Yes, it’s fair to assume that a small portion of the power generated by Yuba Water and sold on the open market is paid for and consumed by PG&E ratepayers in Yuba County.  There isn’t an easy way to calculate how much of the power we generated is purchased and used by Yuba County residents, but for simplicity let’s assume that it’s evenly distributed across California’s population.  As Yuba County makes up about 0.2% of California’s population, that would equate to about 0.2% of the power we produce going to Yuba County.  That means for every $1M in revenue we make in power sales, $2000 comes from our residents (about 2.5 cents per person).  That is a pretty good return on investment for our residents!

Water Sales Revenue

In addition to power sales revenue, another potential source of excess revenue for Yuba Water Agency is water sales.  We are required to release water down the Yuba River for environmental reasons. The amount that must be released varies based on the time of year and how wet or dry the year is.  Once that water reaches the Feather River, sometimes we have the ability to sell a portion of it to buyers downstream.  Either way, it must be released.  If we are able to sell it, we reinvest the revenue here in Yuba County on projects related to our mission areas.  Like power sales revenue, this source of revenue can vary greatly from year to year.  Learn more about the Yuba Accord at https://www.yubawater.org/157/Lower-Yuba-River-Accord 

How do these water sales impact my water rates?

The municipal water providers in Yuba County (OPUD, City of Wheatland, Linda Water, and CalWater) rely on groundwater and do not directly receive any water from Yuba Water Agency.  Therefore, there is no direct connection between the water bill at your house and any revenue that Yuba Water makes from water sales.

What Can Yuba Water Agency do with this Revenue?

Now that you understand how Yuba Water Agency generates revenue for community investment click here to read about the limitations we have on the types of things we can invest in.