According to local water consultant Rodney Smith on behalf of Golden State Water Company, a $54 million water system purchase means a water bill increase of $469 annually for Claremont residents. Mr. Smith makes this assertion and many others regarding the city’s potential water purchase in his feasibility study released Wednesday, December 19.
While making note of several reasons why he advises the city against its water system purchase, much of it comes down to one issue for Mr. Smith: operations and management.
“Running a [water] system is not playing Nintendo. You don’t get amateurs involved to do this,” he said.
Mr. Smith noted his belief that, if the water system is purchased for $54 million, rates would go up about 30 percent for decades. That percentage increases as the total purchase price goes up.
“If you lose the litigation lottery, your rates are going to go over the roof and you are hoping that the city—is going to have to expand and transform themselves into major asset managers, infrastructure planners, risk managers and all that—doesn’t screw it up.”
A copy of Mr. Smith’s report, titled “The Economics of Claremont’s Attempt to Buy the Water System,” was delivered to Claremont councilmembers and other city officials early Wednesday morning outlining what Mr. Smith believes will be costs incurred by residents should a $54 million, $104 million or $204 million deal be made resulting in the city’s ownership of its water system. The $54 million figure is based on the city’s formal offer to the water company, $104 million based on the League of Women Voters estimate in a 2006 study and $204 million as an arbitrary number selected by Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith’s study does not recommend a price for the city’s water system, but he indicates the water company is worth at least $204 million and could very well go beyond that price. He goes on to question whether Claremont city employees are well enough prepared for such a massive undertaking.
“The auto mart used to be full. It’s fricken’ empty now. And the warehouse [sic] district took a long time,” Mr. Smith said in reference to both Auto Center Drive and the Packinghouse Village expansion project. “There’s a lot of empty spaces there. There’s going to be an issue with that track record.”
Golden State Water has not yet released what it believes to be the cost of its system after rejecting the city’s $54 million offer last month. A study to determine that price is currently underway, according to Denise Kruger, Golden State Water’s senior vice president of regulated utilities.
Mr. Smith also raises concern at whether or not the city would be able to build a successful enough bond management team to get the funds needed to purchase the water system.
“Who are they?” he said in reference to city staff. “And what about the city manager? What’s his record?”
As water company and city representatives await negotiations, which have yet to be scheduled, according to Ms. Kruger, Golden State approached Mr. Smith to conduct the report brought before the city. The presented document represents an estimated month of work, according to Mr. Smith.
A Claremont resident since 1982, Mr. Smith is the senior vice president of Claremont-based Stratecon, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in the economics, finance, law and politics of water. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of California, Los Angeles before receiving his PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago and moving on to teach the subject at Claremont McKenna College for 15 years.
He now works full-time for the private sector as an “advisor in the acquisition of water rights throughout the western United States and in the sale and leasing of water rights and water supplies to public and private sector water users.”
A self-proclaimed “water geek,” Mr. Smith has been providing consulting services to Golden State Water Company for the last 12 years, a fact both parties disclosed up front. Mr. Smith was hired and paid by Golden State to conduct this latest water study, though how much was spent on the study was not disclosed.
Mr. Smith’s latest study is based on Golden State Water’s cost numbers and takes into consideration 4 main revenue requirements of the city’s water system: capital charges, or the cost of maintaining the company’s assets, income tax, operating expenses and the water itself. Should the city take over the water system, Mr. Smith reports that while the city would not have to worry about income tax, reported as costing Golden State Water an estimated $1.3 million, capital charges would increase significantly. Golden State Water currently pays about $2.97 million in capital charges. With the city’s $54 million offer, Mr. Smith estimates the city would pay $8.87 million in annual capital charges, at $104 million an estimated $15.79 million, and at $204 million about $29.51 million.
According to Mr. Smith, the dramatic increase in capital charges is partially due to the city’s lack of “pay as you go” funds for operations and capital improvements, allowing the city to pay for needed improvements with current funds rather than borrowed money. The city would need to build up such a fund should it take ownership of its water system, says Mr. Smith.
“While a government-owned water system does not have shareholders, it does not follow that the acquisition and operation of the system can be financed by simply borrowing the amount needed to purchase and operate the system,” he writes. “Rather, extra borrowing is needed to create an equity cushion.”
Mr. Smith believes Claremont would need to consider a financial plan not unlike other local providers like the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. MWD’s financial plan includes reserve funding that would equate to 173 days of operation and “pay as you go” financing, paying for 25 percent of its capital investments with reserves gathered from customer’s rates in previous years.
“The city of Claremont, of course, starts with a blank slate,” Mr. Smith states. “From a consumer’s perspective, the vision of lower water rates is a mirage.”
Two subjects that did not factor into Mr. Smith’s assessment are current Claremont water rates and conservation efforts. Water usage by Claremont homeowners and businesses has gone from about 14,000 acre-feet in 2007 falling to below 11,000 acre-feet since 2010. The reduction in water use has had little to no impact on residents’ water bills, in fact, the opposite speculated outcome has occurred and residents are paying as much as twice for water as they did in 2007.
Golden State and its representatives invited COURIER representatives and Wes Woods from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin to attend the meeting in what they say is an effort to be open and honest about the costs associated with the city’s takeover of the water company.
At the 90-minute meeting held at Stratecon in Claremont on Tuesday, Mr. Smith, Ms. Kruger from Golden State and Peter DeMarco, director of Randle Communications for Golden State, dodged the question of why Claremont residents pay such high rates and why the water company has systematically requested increases. Ms. Kruger cited infrastructure upgrades and Mr. DeMarco claims the questions have already been answered.
Claremont residents have said in the past they are willing to pay the high prices now in order to ensure that Golden State’s record of yearly rate increases does not push future generations out of Claremont.
“We’re here to support the future,” said Claremont resident Ellen Taylor to the CPUC’s administrative law judge last December. “We probably won’t see much of the benefit, but I want the benefit for my children and for my grandchildren, and I want people to think forward rather than backwards.”
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Ramos told the COURIER that he had not had an opportunity to give ample review of Mr. Smith’s study, which Mr. Ramos had received about an hour before request for comment.
“Once we review the information, myself and our legal team—if and when appropriate—we will have a comment,” said Mr. Ramos, adding that he feels “it is very unfortunate they chose to hold this press conference without any input or showing the city first.”
Of what he has seen, Mr. Ramos says he believes there are “numerous, gaping holes” in the information they have provided, which is consistent with the message they are giving this community to try to mislead them on this whole water acquisition issue.
“What they haven’t touched in what I saw in the newspaper were any comments about profits or anything else like that,” Mr. Ramos said. “I think they have sent a paid message, they hired a paid professional, to send the message they want to send. Without seeing all the information, I am not sure what’s factual or not factual because we haven’t had the chance to review it yet.”
The city’s battle toward acquisition approaches the 12-month mark, beginning with the city’s appropriation of up to $300,000 of general reserve funds in explore the possibility of purchasing the city’s water system in January. The feud began in response to Golden State Water’s request for a 24 percent rate increase in 2013 as well as additional, smaller increases in 2014 and 2015. While the new rates were expected to begin this January, that increase has been delayed as the California Public Utilities Commission continues to deliberate.
[Editor’s note: In our continuing effort to support open dialogue, Mr. Smith’s entire 18-page report is available on the COURIER website at www.claremont-courier.com. We have loaded it as an edition, with a link on the left side of our homepage, and can be found in the “Print Archive” tab on our home page. —KD] See this article!
Sutter Island, Sacramento County -- As a child, Brett Baker learned farming fundamentals from his grandfather, who taught him to drive a tractor and gave him some advice about water.
"There may come a time," his grandfather said, "when you have to grab a shotgun and sit on the pump."
The vast delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, where Baker's family has lived and farmed since the 1850s, has long been the center of California's chronic water conflicts. It is the switchyard of the state's water, the place where the north's liquid riches are shipped to the irrigation ditches of the San Joaquin Valley and the sinks of Southland suburbs.
Now, as if heeding Baker's grandfather, the delta has become the defiant seat of rebellion against the most ambitious water supply project proposed in California in decades, a multibillion-dollar plan that has the backing of the administrations of Gov. Jerry Brown and President Obama, as well as the state's most powerful irrigation and urban water districts.
"Our secret plan is to fight them to build it," Baker said. "If it's built, fight them to operate it. And then fight them to tear it down. We're not going anywhere."
Delta landowners have refused to grant access to state crews doing preliminary soil testing for the project. They have demonstrated against the proposal in Sacramento, pitchforks in hand. They have organized a vocal coalition that has produced a documentary film - airing at public forums around the state - to drum up support for their cause.
The proposal, which is not final, calls for the construction of two 35-mile-long tunnels that would carry water underground from intakes on the Sacramento River a few miles north of here to the giant pumps that fill southbound aqueducts.
The government pumping operations currently suck supplies entirely from the south delta, a practice that plays havoc with the tidal estuary's natural salinity and flow patterns, creating a hospitable environment for invasive plants and fish. So powerful are the pumps that they reverse the flow of some delta channels, confusing native fish and drawing them to their deaths.
Advocates say the tunnel project, which also calls for the restoration of more than 100,000 acres of delta habitat, would reduce the pumps' harmful effects and help imperiled fish species rebound. They hope that in turn will allow the government to lift some of the endangered species protections that have restricted delta water exports.
But delta farmers want none of it. They fear the restoration efforts will cost them portions of their land. They worry that their irrigation water will grow saltier, hurting crops, as fresh Sacramento River water that has always flowed through the delta is instead diverted beneath it.
Opponents, including a number of conservation groups, warn that migrating salmon will run afoul of the massive river intakes. They argue that the big tunnels will inevitably be used to send more water south, robbing the delta ecosystem of needed flows.
"It's really taking away from one place and giving to another," said Baker, 28, a UC Davis graduate in fish and conservation biology who does related consulting work.
Recently married and expecting his first child, he is the sixth generation of his family to call a slice of Sutter Island home. The small north delta island has no towns. It is a neat grid of pear and cherry orchards, vineyards and scattered houses where about 150 people live, protected by earthen levees more than a century old. The Sacramento, California's largest river, rolls by the island's northeastern shoulder and two sloughs wash its flanks. Read this article
This is a political article. However, we need to read all
sides when it comes to water.
Read this article by Katy Grimes w/Calwatchdog.com
Sorry for not posting the whole article. We are having some
You might be tempted to pass on a story in Sunday's Arizona Republic with the process-y headline, "Case Asks Who Must Pay Taxes for Utility." Don't.
Ably reported by Ryan Randazzo, the article lays out a controversy in Sun Lakes. The small company that provides water for the "active living retirement community" wants a rate increase of about $6 a month from residents, the first such hike since 1994. Sounds reasonable. But it wants more: "About 40 percent of the increase would pay the utility owners' income taxes." The Residential Utility Consumer Office contends that the water company's "shareholders might have other business interests that lose money, and if they combine the tax credits of those operations with the tax liability from the water utility, they might not pay taxes at all, even though the customers would be paying a 'phantom tax.' 'When this happens, this is essentially free money for the shareholders paid by the ratepayers who receive no benefit from these payments,' RUCO wrote in a brief for the case."
This is about more than Sun Lakes. My sympathy is limited for people who want to buy houses in a leapfrogged, 98-percent white development with streets named after Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana, profaning our desert. But the case is a rare window into how power and influence work in the state. Power, especially, at what insiders call "the fourth branch of government," the Arizona Corporation Commission.
California Leads Way in Drinking Water Membrane FiltrationSocial Media ToolsMore Sharing ServicesShare
By Joseph M. Wong
The global use of microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) systems for drinking water treatment has drastically increased since the mid-1990s. One reason for the increase is their ability to help meet regulatory requirements for lower filtered water turbidity and for reliably removing pathogens such as Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. Another reason is that continual advances in membrane technologies have led to comparable or lower costs (in certain cases) for membrane filtration vs. conventional filtration systems.
California boasts the first significant MF system (5 mgd, 1993) and one of the largest UF drinking water treatment systems (100 mgd, 2008) in North America. As of the end of 2011, there are more than 20 significant (>1 mgd) California drinking water treatment plants using MF/UF technologies approved by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant UF System, San Diego County Water Authority.
Membrane filtration is considered an alternative drinking water filtration technology, and each technology needs to go through proper demonstration procedures to obtain CDPH approval. As of August 2011, CDPH has approved 25 membrane filtration models (from 14 manufacturers) for drinking water treatment in California. An updated list of the approved drinking water membrane technologies, with maximum flux rates and maximum transmembrane pressures, can be found at the CDPH Drinking Water Program website (www.cdph.ca.gov).
History of Membrane Installations in California
The first significant MF system installed for drinking water treatment in California was in the 5-mgd Saratoga Water Treatment Plant owned and operated by the San Jose Water Company. The Memcor® pressure MF system was installed and commissioned in 1993 to replace a diatomaceous earth filter system. It was also the first multiple-mgd MF system in North America. The MF system was installed to deal with wide turbidity variations but with low total organic carbon (TOC) and algae counts, and thus no pretreatment was used except for a screening system to protect the membranes.
The next significant installation was the 4 mgd Arthur H. Bridge MF plant at Cucamonga Valley Water District. Except for some small systems for remote locations (e.g., Placer County Water Agency's 50-gpm MF system) the third significant MF system was not installed and commissioned until 2001 at the Carmichael Water District near Sacramento. The initial capacity of the Carmichael MF system was 17 mgd; the system was later expanded to 22 mgd in 2008. Between 2002 and 2004, nine drinking water MF/UF systems with a total capacity of 152 mgd were installed and commissioned in California. The trend was quiet for three years until 2007 when eight significant MF/UF systems were commissioned.
Nic de Groot Water Treatment Plant UF System, South San Joaquin Irrigation District.
The largest UF system in North American (100 mgd) was commissioned in the San Diego area in 2008, followed by two UF systems commissioned in 2009-2010. There was no report of an MF/UF system installed in 2011, but three systems are expected to be installed in 2012-2013 with a total capacity of 76 mgd, and one existing plant will add 4 mgd.
The total installed capacity in California is 377 mgd with 14 pressure and 9 submerged membrane systems. However, the total capacity of the submerged systems is more than twice that of the pressure systems, as the larger systems are of the submerged type (e.g., South San Joaquin Irrigation District, 36 mgd; San Diego County Water Authority, 100 mgd). The largest installed pressure membrane system is the 22-mgd system in Carmichael (expanded from 17 to 22 mgd).
Pretreatment Processes for MF/UF Systems
A variety of pretreatment processes are used in the installed California MF/UF systems. The first three MF systems, as well as six other systems with relatively clean raw water sources, do not have pretreatment except for 500-micron screens used to protect the membranes. Other membrane systems use a variety of pretreatment systems, including prechlorination, coagulation/flocculation, conventional and plate settler clarifiers with coagulation/flocculation, solids contact clarifier, Actiflo®, AquaDAF® and Clari-DAF® with coagulation/flocculation.
The main purpose of pretreatment is to remove a portion of the total organic carbon (TOC) to reduce formation potential of disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Algae removal is also an objective for the high-rate AquaDAF® (SSJID) and Clari-DAF® systems (Lopez WTP). The 100-mgd Twin Oaks Water Treatment Plant in San Diego does not have pretreatment for the UF systems; however, TOC removal is accomplished after UF treatment using ozonation with advanced oxidation and biological filtration with granular activated carbon.
Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant UF System, Zone 7 Water Agency.
The use of chemical coagulation/flocculation with or without clarification pretreatment for particle removal is not necessary as demonstrated successfully in the operating systems without pretreatment; however, besides TOC removal, pretreatment helps to reduce the solids loading to MF/UF systems and decrease the organic fouling potential of membranes so that higher flux can be operated and maintained. The increase in flux reduces the number of MF/UF modules required, which may offset a major portion or entire cost of the pretreatment system. This trend seems to continue, as all three membrane plants currently under construction will have coagulation /flocculation /clarification as pretreatment.
Even with standard pretreatment, many of the existing MF/UF systems have experienced membrane fouling and excessive membrane fiber breakage. One UF system experienced serious fouling due to initial startup problems with the solids contact clarifier that caused carryover of iron to the membranes. The problem was not completely solved until the original membrane modules were replaced.
Another utility's UF system never achieved the design flux in operation, although the design flux was previously achieved in the pilot plant. The utility had considered reverting back to conventional filtration to obtain higher capacity.
A couple of UF plants also experienced coagulation problems caused by recycling citric acid from the clean-in-place (CIP) waste to the head of the plant. One plant evaluated several options for acid CIP waste disposal and selected calcium chloride to precipitate a majority of the citric acid from the CIP waste prior to recycling to the front of the plant. Calcium chloride also helped form a stable complex with the remaining citric acid that does not interfere with coagulation when the CIP waste is recycled at controlled rates. Citric acid is a chelating agent that can interfere with the alum/ferric coagulation process. Recent research conducted by University of Central Florida has shown that there is an acetic acid to coagulant molar threshold ratio that could interfere with alum and ferric chloride coagulation.
Spent Backwash Water Management
The CDPH has a Cryptosporidium Action Plan (CAP) that sets guidelines for the recycling of spent backwash water for conventional WTPs. The guidelines include a turbidity of <2 NTU, a maximum flow rate of <10 percent of plant flow, and that the backwash water needs to be recycled to the head of the WTP. Since membrane plants are not considered conventional WTPs the CAP may not be directly applicable.
Most of the membrane plants recycle spent membrane backwash water to the front of the treatment plant where the pretreatment systems include coagulation-flocculation-clarification. In some plants, the spent backwash water is collected and returned to the head of the plants at a controlled rate (<10 percent of influent flow) without pretreatment. In other plants various treatment alternatives are applied and some plants discharge spent backwash water to the sewer for treatment by wastewater treatment plants.
Ceramic membranes have been introduced to North America for drinking water treatment. There is no full-scale systems but several pilot testing projects have been conducted. Ceramic membranes are more durable than polymeric membranes and can operate at much higher flux at higher pressure, with very high recovery due to infrequent backwash requirements compared to polymeric membranes.
The main drinking water ceramic MF technology in North American is the Kruger Ceramic Membrane (KCM) system supplied by Kruger using elements manufactured by Metawater from Japan. The CDPH has approved KCM for operating at a maximum flux of 175 gallons per sq ft per day (gfd) and a maximum transmembrane pressure (TMP) of 55 psi. KCM pilot testing has been successfully conducted at Bakersfield, Watsonville and San Jose. The City of Watsonville selected KCM over two polymeric membrane technologies for a 2.5-mgd WTP based on a 20-year life-cycle cost comparison and non-cost factors. However, the project has been postponed pending funding availability. A 0.65-mgd KCM system is under design for the Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, California, near Sacramento.
Membrane filtration has gained acceptance by CDPH in place of granular media filtration because of its improved reliability in removing pathogens such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. MF/UF is seriously considered in most new WTP and expansion projects; however, some of the existing MF/UF plants have experienced operating and maintenance problems, such as excess fiber breakage, fouling and flux limitations.
By Harry Cline/ Posted on Western Farm Press
The Western dairy industry is headed into another down year in what has become a series of three-year cycles of economic pinnacles and troughs. The availability and cost of water to irrigate crops and the economic health of the dairy industry have direct impacts across California agriculture. Without adequate storage to capture excess moisture in years like 2011, water deliveries have fallen dramatically this year compared to last.
California agriculture is the most diversified in the world with roughly 400 different commercial crops.
However, there are two elements that intrinsically tie together just about every segment of the state’s No. 1 industry. The obvious is water. The other is not so apparent — the dairy industry.
Dairymen use a wide array of commodities to feed and care for their animals. Dairy cows are fed everything from alfalfa to almond hulls, to rice hulls, cottonseed, byproducts from ethanol production, silages of all sorts, cull vegetables and the list goes on. They use grain straw for bedding and have even been known to use harvested cotton stalks for the same thing.
Dairymen try to supply themselves with much of what they consume; however, they are significant buyers of many of the state’s biggest commodities.
The availability and cost of water to irrigate crops and the economic health of the dairy industry have direct impacts across most of California agriculture. Unfortunately, the outlooks for both water and dairy are not too bright right now, according to a leading water attorney and CPA who watches over the finances of dairies across the West. Water attorney Gary Sawyers of Fresno detailed how dramatically California’s water supply can change at the annual Spring Outlook Conference in Visalia, Calif., sponsored by the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Last year was one of the wettest on record. This year has so far been one of the driest. Without adequate storage to capture excess moisture in years like 2011, water deliveries have fallen dramatically this year compared to last.
To date, promised deliveries from state and federal water projects range from 35 percent to 50 percent of contracted water. Recent storms may result in more water. Last year irrigation districts were just about giving away surplus water.
Snowfall and rainfall have been heavier in Northern California this year, but Sawyers says if growers there are willing to sell water to the Central Valley, it could not move through the Delta due to environmental constraints.
“If growers want to buy supplemental water, they will have to buy it south of the Delta.”
The plight of the state’s water supply is not only impacted by the lack of storage and rain/snow, but by environmental lawsuits, like the one which forced the San Joaquin River restoration settlement. Friant water users gave up 200,000 acre feet for river restoration as part of an environmental lawsuit settlement.
Part of that settlement is an agreement to re-circulate river restoration water back to Friant water users. However, Sawyers says so far that has not happened. Recirculated water gets as far as San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos, Calif., where it is sold to other valley water contractors nearer to the reservoir.
The river restoration has become expensive with the bill expected to be now “well north of $1 billion.” However, there was no money allocated to implement the settlement agreement, and Congress has not provided funds.
“The money is just not there,” says Sawyer. “The settlement is struggling and water is (still) being taken from Friant” for river restoration. Nunes throws down gauntlet » Read more of this article!
By Dennis Wyatt - firstname.lastname@example.org 209-249-3519
A plentiful and stable water supply was responsible for a real and sustained economic boom 100 years ago in Manteca, Ripon and Escalon.
It turned the sandy loam and barren countryside into some of the most fertile farmland in the world. Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon went from mere wide spots on roads to bustling communities. Everyone benefitted: The farmer, the laborer, the merchant, the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor.
It happened because a group of visionary farmers understood the economic might that irrigation water would bring.
Now 100 years later the same organization those visionary farmers formed - the South San Joaquin Irrigation District - is on the verge of laying the groundwork for another sustained period of prosperity in Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon that will benefit everyone.
Sometime this summer the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission will say “yea” or “nay” to the SSJID plan to lower retail power costs across the board by 15 percent in Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and the surrounding countryside.
An independent financial analysis by a consultant that PG&E recommended LAFCO use determined it is feasible thanks to yet another visionary move the SSJID made more than a half century ago. That vision was the Tri-Dam Project. It not only secured more water but also put in place clean hydroelectric power. Since the bonds have been retired, the revenue stream from Tri-Dam is now sending between $12 million and $16 million in unrestricted revenue each year into the SSJID’s coffers. It is that money that is making it possible for SSJID to do everything they have to do - buy the PG&E system, upgrade it, pay severance costs, and secure power contracts - to reduce retail power costs by at least 15 percent.
The first year SSJID is up and running, the Manteca-Ripon-Escalon economy will grow by $12 million. That is how much money households, businesses, farmers and government agencies will avoid paying in power costs.
Imagine what an extra $12 million a year infused into the local economy would do. Now think about what that 15 percent savings can do into improving the employment outlook.
Roseville snagged Hewlett-Packard and NEC Electronics in the 1980s. They were on the short list due to their location, proximity to Silicon Valley, quality of life, schools, recreation opportunities, and medical care. Things that also was true about Folsom that secured Intel the same decade.
How the two cities secured platinum employers who are long-term and offer a variety of jobs requiring different skill sets came down to one thing: Cheap electricity.
The City of Roseville has its own power department while Folsom is part of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
A lot of trash talk has been uttered by some who hail from Beale Street in San Francisco about publicly owned utilities. And while there are cases out there where rates of public utilities aren’t below quasi-public utilities that are protected monopolies such as PG&E, they are a significant number that are less expensive.
In fact, SMUD’s rates are substantially lower than PG&E’s despite having to shoulder the cost of decommissioning and mothballing the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant.
The City of Manteca’s economic development manager Don Smail said it best when asked how big of a deal having SSJID provide power at 15 percent less than PG&E’s rates would be for job generation in the South County. “It’s huge,” was Smail’s answer. Roseville and Folsom would agree. Read more of this article.
By Jason Campbell email@example.com - 209-249-3544
When it comes to protecting their biggest resource the South San Joaquin Irrigation District is putting their money where their mouth is. The fight gearing up between the Delta Stewardship Council – a group charged with balancing the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta against its agricultural uses – and the coalition of municipalities that oppose what they say is broad power given to the group won’t come without a cost.
And with a strong Sacramento political insider now on the payroll of the group that opposes what they feel are far-reaching powers on behalf of the stewardship, the district has agreed to shell out $3,000 a month to help advance the cause that they’ve been advocating since Day 1. But that money being given to the Delta Council won’t come without oversight. In the eyes of SSJID director Dave Kamper, making a one-year commitment for more than $30,000 to a group that they’re not completely sure will have the district’s best interests at heart is a gamble not worth taking.
The SSJID board – director Dale Kuil was absent due to health problems – put a three-month stipulation on the funds that could be renewed as long as things continue on what they believe is the right track. “Our goal is to protect existing water rights,” Shields said. “We’ll take a look at it and if it ends up going sideways we can just not renew our commitment.” According to Shields, the Delta Council – the name of the coalition of cities that have united to show their solidarity against what they believe could end up impacting the water supply in a catastrophic way – is essentially spearheaded by Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston and the City of Stockton. Johnston has taken on a pivotal role in visiting city councils in San Joaquin County and organizing presentations to strengthen the power of the group.
The SSJID is concerned that the actions of the stewardship council could impact their pre-1914 adjudicated water rights on the Stanislaus River – the source that they share jointly with Oakdale Irrigation District that provides both irrigation water and a source for power generation. Municipalities are concerned that actions taken could end up overriding their General Plan and affect development in the future.
The Delta Plan – a document that the agency believes will protect the Delta’s resources – is one of the focal points of the Delta Coalition’s grievance and it’s something that they’ve pressed in meetings with the seven-member board. Most of their concerns, they feel, have been ignored. Four other counties besides San Joaquin have a stake in the Delta. Shields believes that at least some of the money being given by the cities will go to a public relations campaign to get the word out to residents. He told the board that the price tag he had heard for the service being provided was somewhere in the neighborhood of $230,000. See this article