The Yuba Water Agency is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Yuba County residents. YWA leadership rewrote their vision statement last year to reflect that. County residents and businesses should feel a little happier – YWA means what it says and has the means to do it.

The agency has a steady and bountiful revenue stream coming in, since it took over power generating facilities from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. a few years ago. It is required, however, to spend that money in ways that are related to water ... to put it simply.

But the agency can find all sorts of ways to support Yuba County government and Yuba County people. It’s already done well by the county by hitching up to that vision of improving life for county residents and by funding development of a strategic plan to drive economic growth.

The agency hired a consulting firm to develop the strategy, it was reported recently.

Terri Daly, administrative manager for YWA, said they recognize that reducing flood risk and ensuring sustainable water supplies, as the agency is bound to do, isn’t enough.

She said there are things in the plan that the agency will be able to work on and things that it won’t be able to, given the legal restrictions on how the agency can spend the power-generated revenue. That’s OK.

“The goal with all of this is to develop a community blueprint, so we can all be moving in the same direction, with a community-wide effort to develop a robust, diverse Yuba County economy and improve the well-being of Yuba County residents.”

That initial study highlighted four main areas of opportunity for the county and for patterns to focus on:

– Infrastructure expansion.

– Education and workforce development.

– Tourism and hospitality;

– Technology.

There is mention of a Highway 65 bypass at Wheatland, expansion of Highway 70 through Marysville, developing post-secondary education in fields such as water, forestry and agriculture; developing recreational possibilities on waterways and more.

Amongst those who have worked with the agency on developing the study and strategy, there is a note of the positive, of confidence. 

There will be more study, getting more specific on impacts of projects and recognizing steps to be taken. YWA expects to have a final report competed by early next year.

But already the agency has provided a shot in the arm that could set the pace for the next couple decades.

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