Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

It’s time to stop the scare tactics

By Bob Hagedorn, Pam Gunnell, Johannes Troost, William L. Rukeyser, Henry Bennett and Linda Bennett

It is time for the city to stop the scare tactics and to level with the citizens of Davis. The city’s own consultant reports have told us that our deep aquifer water is high-quality, clean water that is replenishing itself and showing no signs of overdraft. But the city has consistently chosen to push an agenda rather than stick to the facts.

First, we were told that we would lose our river water rights if we did not proceed immediately with the surface water project. When that proved to be incorrect, and it was acknowledged that we have a secure 40-year permit, we were told that we needed the surface water project to meet our selenium discharge requirements. A technical memorandum from Brown and Caldwell disproved this and concluded that “selenium target levels are met” with only minor changes in how we manage our existing wells.

Next, it was the hexavalent chromium scare tactic. However, when Rob Beggs of Brown and Caldwell addressed the Water Advisory Committee, he explained that our deep aquifer, from which we will soon be drawing all of our drinking water, has no hexavalent chromium problem.

We were then told that the deep aquifer was “deteriorating.” Beggs, however, said that our deep aquifer wells were healthy and showing no signs of deterioration, and he saw “no sustainability problems” at “current usage levels.” The city-commissioned Brown and Caldwell Engineers Phase II Deep Aquifer Study agreed, concluding: “Because the average water levels in deep wells do not appear to be decreasing over time, recharge is in approximate equilibrium with extractions from the deep aquifer.”

With continued conservation, and the city’s plans to re-pipe its municipal irrigation to draw from the intermediate aquifer, we should remain at or below current usage levels in the deep aquifer over the next couple of decades, even with projected population growth factored in.

Any changes to the deep aquifer, if they will ever occur at all, “will not be sudden, but will likely continue on a decades to centuries time scale,” project advocate Graham Fogg, a UC Davis hydrogeologist, acknowledged in a written communication. He concluded that even if changes eventually occur, “There is always the option of treating the groundwater to remove dissolved substances, much like we do routinely with surface water.”

Even Alan Pryor, the Yes on I campaign chairman, acknowledged that our deep aquifer water is of “high quality” and is “indistinguishable from river water.” We will be able to draw exclusively from this high-quality water shortly when our two new wells are operating. Our deep aquifer meets state and federal water quality and discharge requirements.

The final justification for moving forward was the “great manganese offensive,” a strange maneuver indicating sheer desperation. Manganese is not a threat to our health. Our consultant, Rob Beggs, told the WAC that he was surprised that the state even imposed limits on us. We would have to pay for manganese treatment with or without the surface water project, and the treatment costs are a drop in the bucket compared to the costs of surface water. In the worst-case scenario, we could pay for this wellhead treatment with the savings we would realize in interest alone by deferring the surface water project by only a few months.

We have seen similar misinformation about what the proposed surface water project will do to our water bills. The Woodland-Davis JPA sent fliers to households claiming that “water rates will remain lower than the statewide average,” but nothing could be further from the truth. As has been widely reported, our bills will triple over the next five years, and continue to rise thereafter. At current usage levels, single-family homes will pay $130 per month or more in eight years, nearly quadruple current rates.

Average monthly water bills for the same amount of water per month across the nine agencies in the Sacramento region are less than $47 per month. Most of the other regions of the state with higher water rates will pay far less per month than we would with this project because they are in coastal areas with little need for irrigation. And coastal areas have lower wastewater bills because they do not have tertiary treatment as we do. Coastal areas also have lower heating and air-conditioning bills.

The combined costs to Davis residents from water, sewer, heating, and air-conditioning will be crushing for many moderate- and lower-income households if we build this project.

Amazingly, we do not yet know the costs of the project since there have been no bids, and Measure I does not contain any provision to stop the project should bids exceed the promised $120 million in construction costs. Only two firms are still willing to bid on the project, and one firm had to be coaxed back into the process because of concerns that the costs will substantially exceed current estimates.

Two small rural towns cannot afford to build a redundant project when there are surface water systems with excess capacity in the region. The facts are that Davis can have clean and sustainable water by spending far less than what Measure I would require. There is ample time to find a better, more cost-effective solution to our long-term water needs.

We owe it to our children not to burden them with excessive and unnecessary debt for a generation. Please join us in voting no on Measure I.

— Bob Hagedorn is a former chairman of the Davis Planning Commission, Pam Gunnell is a teacher and former chairwoman of the Davis Planning Commission, Johannes Troost is a member and former chairman of the Davis Finance and Budget Commission, William L. Rukeyser was the state Water Board communications chief in 2005-10, and Henry and Linda Bennett are Davis residents.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

     
    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20