More questions about river water

By June 9, 2011

I would like to see the city of Davis issue some clarifications on the issue of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency conditional permit (21269) for 45,000 acre-feet of Sacramento River water that the state issued through the State Water Board on April 14, because I have not yet seen mention of the expenses and other problems below that concern me.

One of the conditions imposed by the board upon granting the permit is that the agency must file documents with the board that it has obtained an alternate water supply of 45,000 acre-feet in case of drought or other issues that covers the time period and equals the amount of the permit.

Recently, the city of Davis purchased 10,000 acre-feet from the Conaway Preservation Group for $86 million, and that now constitutes part of what I assume will be that alternate supply. This purchase as well as conditions cited by the permit trigger, for me, the following questions:

Does the city realize that this 10,000 acre-feet costs almost twice as much for untreated water as Los Angeles now pays (roughly $420/acre-feet in 2011)?

Does the total project cost quoted to us by the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency include the $86 million paid for the Conaway water?

Where will the remaining 35,000 acre-feet of contingency water supply demanded by the state come from and what will it cost?

Assuming that storing water would be considered by the board an equivalent to purchasing backup water, would it cost less for the agency to build a reservoir to store river water we aren’t able to use due to low demand during times when we can pump for times when we can’t pump river water due to drought or other issues?

How much does it cost to build and maintain a reservoir compared to paying $860 per acre-foot over 10 years for an alternate water supply?

How much would it cost to pump river water into our depleted aquifers to store?

Sheryl L. Gerety


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