Big Bend Construction Begins

After several years of planning, Donner Summit Public Utility District (DSPUD) received a long-anticipated low-interest loan from USDA Rural Development to fund the building a new water treatment plant in Big Bend.

In addition to securing the loan, DSPUD also worked with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to negotiate a special use permit, which would allow for continued use and upgrade of existing water lines, use of a USFS parcel to build a water treatment structure, use of two springs located on USFS land and a water storage tank.

District crews began working on the first phase, which involved upgrading existing water lines, in September. BWD Construction of Lincoln, CA was awarded the construction contract for the new treatment facility. Construction work started in early October and is on track for completion this winter. The plant will be brought online in 2020.

District crews are replacing previously used 1 ½” emergency fire hose with 4” HDPE pipe along the bridge. The new pipe, extending about 700 feet, will connect at the existing water tank and transfer water to the new treatment building. Crews had to break up imbedded rock formations as part of the excavation process. Footing and stems walls are under construction.


Big Bend is a small, second home community made up of 29 cabins located in an unincorporated area of Placer County. About half of the cabins are privately owned and the other cabins are located on United States Forest Service (USFS) land under a Special Use Permit (SUP).

Proposed Action

DSPUD is pursuing an effort to obtain a special use permit (SUP) to upgrade and build the required infrastructure to secure a safe, reliable water supply now and for the future. Specifically, DSPUD is working with the USFS to acquire a SUP for the following:

  • Continued use and upgrade of existing water lines
  • Use of a USFS parcel to build a water treatment structure
  • Use of two springs located on USFS land
  • Water storage tank

Three design options were considered and are posted for review. The first two options were determined to be too costly. The third option was the most economical. Revisions to Option 3 were made in late August following a meeting with the USFS.

Success of the proposed project will result in a clean, safe and reliable water supply for the Big Bend community.

Notice of Water Rate Increase

Notice is given that the Donner Summit Public Utility District Board of Directors has approved a water rate increase to take affect July 2019. A public hearing will be conducted on November 20, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the DSPUD boardroom to consider adopting the proposed rate increase. Click here to read the full Notice of Water Rate Increase letter.

Currently, water users pay $639.96 annually ($159.99 quarterly) for water service and an annual assessment of $545.52 ($136.38 quarterly). Under the proposed increase, water service rates will increase to $246.55 quarterly.

The current annual assessment will be eliminated. A new debt service assessment, which is needed to fund the annual debt service on the USDA loan, will be charged quarterly at $185.46.

Click here to read the updated Water Charge Study.

Community Workshop Update

DSPUD held a meeting with the Big Bend community to review the proposed plan and financing options. Click here to review the meeting minutes.

Questions? Please email Tom Skjelstad, General Manager at

Attendees at Big Bend meeting