Magalia By-Pass Project

Magalia By-Pass Pipeline Project


The Paradise Irrigation District's Magalia Reservoir Bypass Pipeline Project is complete and operational. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions for this project and some photos of construction.


Benefits to the District include:

  • Reduction in energy costs by delivering gravity fed water to the treatment plant. In 1997, the District was required by the California Division of Safety of Dams to lower the water level in Magalia Reservoir 25 feet. Since then all water has been pumped for delivery to the treatment plant. The Bypass Project will allow us to experience annual savings of $60,000 to $80,000 in energy costs in the first year and those annual savings will increase as future energy costs rise. icon PGE Bypass Analysis

  • Improve taste and odor problems due to algae growth in Magalia Reservoir. During the late spring and summer, District customers have occasionally experienced taste and odor problems in their drinking water. The Bypass Project will allow us to bring colder and clearer water to the treatment plant when Magalia Reservoir experiences growth in algae.

  • Provide water to the treatment plant during the repair or replacement of Magalia Dam. For some time, the District has been investigating the repair or replacement of Magalia Dam as well as cooperating with Butte County in the potential widening of the Skyway over Magalia Dam. We also continue to investigate the possibility of raising the water level at certain times based on continued evaluation of the strength of the dam. It was estimated that a temporary supply of water during this construction could cost $1.5 million. The permanent Bypass Project will eliminate those potential costs.

  • Provide an alternative supply of water to the treatment plant. One of the most important benefits of this project is to provide an alternative intake source to the treatment plant in the event of a large chemical spill on the Magalia Dam.


How much did the Bypass Project cost? Final construction costs were $2.9 million.  The District was able to finance $2 million the project through the California Infrastructure Bank over twenty years at a 2.77% interest rate with an annual debt service of $120,000.  A significant portion of the annual debt service ($60,000-$80,000 in the first year) will be covered by energy savings.  Furthermore, the District is still anticipating Proposition 50 grant funds from the Department of Water Resources in the amount of $480,000 to offset it’s portion of the total construction cost.  . Will the road constructed to install the pipeline be open to the public for walking and biking and Magalia Reservoir be open to fishing? At this time there is no plan to open public access to Magalia Reservoir.  In order to receive approval from the Department of Health Services to open this reservoir to public access, the District would be required to maintain restroom facilities and patrol the area on a regular basis.  The additional cost to improve the facilities for public access and maintain them would be substantial. Is Magalia Reservoir no longer going to provide a water supply for the District? The District will continue to use the water captured by Magalia for supply to our customers.  The Magalia watershed captures about 25% of the District’s water supply and it is important to ensure we capture all that we have available.  We will pump from the reservoir only during periods of off peak energy pricing at a substantial savings to the District.  During algae blooms, we will be able to blend water from the reservoir to minimize taste and odor issues. For Questions or Comments email George Barber bypass
intake screen