Tuolumne County, in the Central Sierra Nevada with its diverse terrain, is the setting for Yosemite National Park, Stanislaus National Forest, Columbia and Railtown 1897 State Historic Parks, and a wide selection of Gold Rush towns like Jamestown, Groveland, and Sonora; the resort community of Twain Harte; and the lumber town of Tuolumne City . . . all providing a wide array of recr...eational activities.
History is the backbone of Tuolumne County. Gold rush towns, lumber towns, vintage steam engines, 1800’s architecture, historic hotels and B&B’s all linked together via historic Highway 49 and 108. More than 300 films have been shot here since 1919. Theaters, gourmet restaurants, and live entertainment abound. Tuolumne County is the scenic gateway to the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains, abundant in natural resources and recreation opportunities.
The community enjoys a rich culture that includes theater, arts, antiques, music, dining, youth and adult sports programs, excellent schools and modern healthcare facilities. Skiing, snowboarding, golf, boating, swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, cycling and off-road adventures await.
Tuolumne Utilities District’s (TUD) service area is nestled in the picturesque central Sierra foothills. TUD was created in July 1992, following approval by Tuolumne County voters to consolidate two existing water agencies. The District provides water and wastewater services to the areas extending east and west from Sonora, California.
The District’s water delivery system dates back to the 1850’s, when early mining interests first tapped into the South Fork of the Stanislaus River and developed ditch systems to bring water down to foothill mining operations. Water storage followed in 1856 with the construction of four log crib dams on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. In 1927, PG&E purchased the system and in 1930 rebuilt Lyons Dam as part of its Phoenix hydroelectric power project. The reservoir holds about 5,500 acre-feet, while 12 miles upstream, Pinecrest Lake holds 18,312 acre-feet. At about the same time Lyons was enlarged, State Legislation reserved future rights for Tuolumne County to tap into the South Fork, making it one of few rivers in the state with county of origin protection. Water rights in much of the remainder of the Stanislaus and Tuolumne River watersheds had already gone to San Francisco and the Central Valley.
Today, PG&E still owns Lyons Reservoir and the 15.7-mile Main Canal that leads to its Phoenix powerhouse. From the Main Canal, TUD’s water splits into three branches – one serves Twain Harte, Soulsbyville and Tuolumne; another feeds TUD’s network of ditches, pipelines and treatment plants that serve Crystal Falls, Big Hill and Columbia. The remainder goes into Phoenix Reservoir to serve Phoenix Lake, East Sonora, Sonora and Jamestown.
TUD currently owns and operates 14 water treatment plants, 70 treated water storage tanks, two wastewater treatment plants, approximately 57 miles of open ditches, 296 miles of treated water pipeline, 140 miles of sewer pipeline and 26 sewer lift (pump) stations. TUD delivers treated water to more than 14,000 customers. It also delivers raw water to several smaller water companies and to agricultural and residential customers.
TUD is governed by a five-member Board of Directors, elected at large, who begin service in December of even-numbered years. The District has an operating budget of over $15 million and a current staff of 71 employees.