Water & Resource Conservation

Butte County's Department of Water and Resource Conservation was formed on July 1, 1999 following many years implementing programs to protect the Butte County water resources.

Our Mission: To manage and conserve water and other resources for the citizens of Butte County.

Palermo Clean Water Consolidation Project

The County would like to address the health and safety issues being faced by the Palermo community. The majority of the parcels within the Palermo community are served by individual water wells for their potable water supply and by onā€site septic systems for wastewater treatment and disposal. Flooding, high groundwater levels and continued septic system failures have resulted in cross contamination of the existing wells and possibly contamination of the groundwater aquifer. Many of the domestic wells are shallow and face challenges complying with the Revised Total Coliform Rule and some wells have high Nitrate levels which are close to exceeding the maximum contaminant level (Nitrate as N).

Current Happenings

CEQA Initial Study/Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration Posted for 30 day Comment Period-Posted December 13, 2021

Indicate your interest in receiving clean reliable drinking water as a future customer of South Feather Water and Power Agency by filling out this Letter of Interest and mailing it back to our Department.

Project Description

The County and the South Feather Water and Power Agency (SFWPA) are collaborating through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to resolve these health and safety issues by pursuing the Palermo Clean Water Consolidation Project (Project) for the Palermo community which would provide a safe reliable water supply that reliably meets Safe Drinking Water Act drinking water requirements. The SFWPA already provides treated surface water from the Feather River to more than one hundred (100) parcels within the Palermo community. This Project would connect your property to existing SFWPA infrastructure and install new water mains, valves, fire hydrants, and meters for those not adjacent to the existing SFWPA water facilities. The Project will provide a clean and reliable source of drinking water to Palermo residents within the service area enclosed by Messina Avenue to the north, South Villa Avenue to the south, the railroad to the west and Upper Palermo Road to the east.

Information about the project is also available on this flyer.

Current Problems and Challenges

  • High rates of septic failure during periods of high rainfall have resulted in stormwater and shallow groundwater contamination
  • Previous studies have indicated that up to 25% of the domestic wells have coliform and nitrate above the current MCL

Current Solutions and Benefits

  • Connect to South Feather Water and Power Agency existing infrastructure to provide drinking water to current domestic well owners
  • Reduce demand on the aquifer and provide a clean, reliable and sustainable water supply to the community

Project schedule and timeline

If grant funding is awarded for the Project in 2022, the goal is to have the Project completed by mid-2024.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why is Butte County and the South Feather Water and Power Agency (SFWPA) working together to bring clean water to the Palermo community?
    Approximately 110 Palermo parcels are already hooked up to SFWPA’s water system in Palermo receiving full water service benefits.  The Palermo Clean Water Consolidation Project (Project) will provide new accounts that connect to the SFWPA water system with a safe reliable water supply. This will also address groundwater pollution issues and eliminate concerns about wells going dry during multi-year droughts.

  2. How do I indicate my interest in connecting my Palermo property to receive water from the SFWPA water system?
    Please sign the Letter of Interest for connection to the SFWPA water system as soon as possible so that grant funds for connecting your account to the SFWPA water system can be included in the grant funding applications.  This is not a final decision for or against participation in the project.  But submitting a letter of interest now helps strengthen the funding application by showing community support for the project. 

  3. If I sign up now with the Letter of Interest, what will my out-of-pocket costs be?
    There would be no out-of-pocket costs for signing up now with the Letter of Interest.  Customers will be contacted when grant funds are available to verify their interest in hooking up to the SFWPA water system through the project before construction begins. 

  4. If I choose not to sign up for the SFWPA Letter of Interest now, can I change my mind before the Project is complete?
    Yes, however for us to prepare an accurate project cost estimate for the grant, it is best that we confirm how many parcels want to connect to the SFWPA water system. There is no guarantee that grant funds will be available to Palermo customers who do not sign the SFWPA Letter of Interest in advance of the grant funding application process.  It is recommended that Palermo customers sign the SFWPA Letter of Interest now so that your parcel can be included and listed in the grant funding application. This will ensure the highest chance of success to secure grant funds for your SFWPA water system connection costs.

  5. If I hook up to the SFWPA water system through the Project what benefits do I receive as a SFWPA water customer?
    Palermo accounts would receive the following benefits for connecting to the SFWPA water system and becoming a SFWPA water customer:
    SFWPA provides water service 24-hours per day/365 days per year to meet all water needs;

    1. Having SFWPA’s certified water professionals maintain the water distribution system, water service laterals, and state of the art metered connections for all customers;

    2. Having SFWPA’s certified water professionals replace old facilities including pipes, services, hydrants, valves, storage, backflow, and meters;

    3. Having SFWPA provide fire protection and emergency water service capacity to protect property and facilities and provide reliable service during all water year types;

    4. Having SFWPA provide water quality that meets all Safe Drinking Water Act standards, and utility billing services.All you have to do is manage your water use.

    5. Note that Palermo customers hooking up to the SFWPA water system would still be responsible for any future maintenance of the water service connection from the SFWPA meter box to the home or building.

  6. What is the current SFWPA water bill for those already hooked up to the SFWPA water system?
    The majority of Palermo accounts would pay the SFWPA residential monthly water service charge for a ¾-inch meter plus pay $0.42 per billing unit of water used. The 2021 monthly service charge is $19.00 per month.  The billing unit is one ccf (one hundred cubic foot) which is equivalent to 748 gallons of water.  The current average monthly water bill for Palermo customers already connected to the SFWPA system is approximately $35 per month based on 2021 water rates and average monthly water use of 36 ccf.  Future water charges will be based on SFWPA adopted water rates and customer water usage.

    SFWPA is focusing on four key strategic initiatives for 2022. These include 1) Water System Efficiency, 2) Water Supply Reliability, 3) Sustainable Infrastructure, and 4) Update Utility Rate Planning. This focused effort will help the SFWPA balance infrastructure and regulatory needs in support of its’ Mission Statement to deliver a dependable supply of safe, quality drinking water to its current and future customers.

  7. How much would it potentially cost me to connect to the SFWPA water system in the future? How much money am I saving by connecting to the SFWPA water system now under this grant?
    Palermo residents who do not connect to the SFWPA water system using available grant funds would be responsible for all SFWPA water system connection costs in the future including paying the SFWPA water connection fee.  Estimated costs based on 2021 data and information are outlined below for your information.

    For a parcel already within the SFWPA service area, the total cost for a domestic connection to the SFWPA water system would be $6,108 as follows: 

    $40  New Account Fee
    $4,363  System Capacity Fee
    $500  Service Installation Charge
      Backflow Installation Charge
    $1,205  Meter/Backflow Set Fee
    $6,108  SFWPA Fee Subtotal

    For a parcel that must be annexed into the SFWPA service area, the total cost for domestic connection would be $12,108 as follows: 

    $40  New Account Fee
    $4,363 System Capacity Fee
    $500 Service Installation Charge

    Backflow Installation Charge
    $1,205 Meter/Backflow Set Fee
    $6,108 SFWPA Fee Subtotal
    $1,500 Engineering/Platt Mapping
    $500 State Board of Equalization Fee

    County Clerk's Posting Fee
    $4,000 LAFCO Deposit
      LAFCO Sphere-of-Influence Fee
      Encroachment Permit (City/County)
    $6,000 Outside Agency Fees
    $12,108 Total


  8. How can I stay updated on the Project status and next steps?
    Palermo residents can stay abreast of the Project status by reviewing information available on the Butte County website: http://www.buttecounty.net/waterresourceconservation/Palermo_Clean_Water, and by attending periodic community Town Hall meetings to address any questions or concerns you may have.    

  9. If I live just outside of the project boundaries on the map can I still participate and get connected to the SFWPA water system?
    Palermo customers who are located on either side of the street along the project boundary will be provided with the opportunity to participate in the Project.  It is preferred that Letters of Interest be signed by these customers in advance of project construction so that grant funds can be secured to connect those customers to the SFWPA water system.

  10. Do I have to destroy my well if I participate in the project?
    Palermo customers interested in connecting to the SFWPA water system can provide a signed Letter of Interest to the project partners (see project website link above).  Participating customers will not be required to destroy their wells, however they are encouraged to take advantage of grant funds to do so as part of the project implementation process.  If at a future time the well is inactive and is required to be destroyed, these customers will be required to pay the costs to properly destroy their domestic wells out-of-pocket.



 Location and Hours

Water & Resource Conservation
308 Nelson Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965

Office Hours
Monday to Friday
8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Excludes Holidays

 Contact Water

Water & Resource Conservation
Phone:    530.552.3595
Fax:          530.538.3807

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 Upcoming Events

Water Commission Meeting
November 2, 2022-1:30 pm

BOS Chambers
25 County Center Drive, Oroville

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting
November, 2022