City Needs to Examine Water Issues Before the Final Bill Hits the City Ratepayers

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The water issue is not an issue that has resonated with the Davis public just yet. In part, perhaps, because I think most people simply just are not aware of the magnitude of the increase in service charge they are facing in the coming years. Many families will be looking at a two to three fold increase (at minimum) in the coming years. We are talking about paying $2000 per year just in water.

Tuesday night the Davis City Council approved a resolution adopting the Yolo County Integrated Resource Water Management Plan (IRWMP). This is a regional plan that is broad in scope. In fact, so broad that the city produced a large and thick booklet. That booklet was delivered on Friday afternoon to the Davis City Council members–full of complex water-related issues.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek questioned the staff for delivering such a thick and dense document at such late a point. And while staff was apologetic about the completion time, there are a number of issues that could be brought up just from this fact. The Brown Act requires that all public meetings receive 72 hours notice. The city council agenda and packet are generally complete sometime on Friday afternoon. In technical terms that is around 96 hours plus in advance.

However, from a practical standpoint, there are problems with such timing. The basic information about agenda items is indeed available well in advance. However, anything dense or complicated has practical limitations. For instance, a member of the public probably would not be aware of the existence of this particular bound report until Monday. Thus from a practical standpoint, the public for some things really only has 24 to 36 hours notice. The weekend serves as time from the standpoint of the Brown act, but also as a dead zone in terms of the ability to learn about some of the more complex agenda items.

While all considerations have to be balanced with a practical understanding of the duties and tasks of city staff, a Thursday delivery date would push the time forward by 24 hours, but allow people time both during the week prior and the week of to more fully explore the council’s agenda items.

Councilmember Heystek also introduced a substitute motion on Tuesday, to exclude from the report material related to the proposed but not passed water supply project. Though both Councilmember Heystek and Mayor Sue Greenwald made a valiant effort to convince Councilmember Stephen Souza onto their side, in the end, that substitute motion failed by a 3-2 vote and the main motion passed by a 3-2 vote.

In practical terms, this vote probably was only symbolic. Councilmember Stephen Souza made the point that this does not authorize anything new, and he is correct. On the other hand, as we have seen with this issue, much of what has been pushed along has been done either without votes from council to change course, or by piecemeal votes. One wonders if there will actually be a final vote on such a project or if at some point it be brought forth bit by bit into fait accompli status.

There are a number of questions about this project that need to be addressed. The first question is whether or not we need to have the water supply project at all. The city maintains that the water quality is not suitable presently. In fact, the water quality is perfectly suitable for drinking, what it is not suitable for is outflow back into the environment. That in itself begs a number of questions–chief among them, is whether we cannot deal simply with the present water supply.

The next question is whether we can, as Mayor Greenwald claims, rely on deep well aquifers to supply water for the next 30 to 50 years. That time, would allow for a number of things including allowing us to pay off the water treatment center, so that the residents of Davis are not hit with a double whammy of rate increases. The Mayor has especially objected to the lack of study from independent consultants and experts about the feasibility of such an alternative plan.

In part there needs to be a healthy skepticism about the current arrangement between the city and their hired water experts and consultants. Part of that skepticism is based on the idea that the same people asked to evaluate the water situation are the same people who would profit from the city adopting a water supply project.

Mayor Sue Greenwald has repeatedly suggested that the “experts” she has talked to have presented very different findings than have the city paid engineers and consults. Perhaps it is time that they come forth and speak before the public.

We also must question the size of the water supply project. As Councilmember Heystek suggested, the supply is far larger than the city’s current needs, and he wondered aloud if the actual goal was to enable and facilitate growth rather than to fix a water supply problem.

Finally, we must again question the judgment of councilmembers such as Councilmember Don Saylor, who has voted each time to support and push this project ahead while at the same time, members of the West Yost Associates consulting firm have attended his campaign announcement party and undoubtedly in part helped to bankroll his re-election bid.

That leaves us with the vexing question as to whether we are getting the best governance or simply the best governance that money can buy.

It seems to me, that in the end, this entire water supply system might be our only choice. But it is estimated at this point to cost around $300 million. My guess is that the actual price will only be higher. I would like to see a concerted effort by city staff and our elected officials to take as many measures as possible to ensure that the solution that we have selected is the only reasonable alternative that we can take. It may end up being the course that we are presently on, but I would like for us to ask all the tough questions. In the meantime, I would like to see the same answers from people who will not financially benefit from these decisions as West Yost Associates will. In short, I want to hear from Mayor Greenwald’s experts, it is time for her to stop talking about what they are saying and actually have them come forward and show us all what they have apparently told the Mayor. The public has the right to know.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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80 thoughts on “City Needs to Examine Water Issues Before the Final Bill Hits the City Ratepayers”

  1. Matt Williams

    One of the key differences between the current water supply and the Sacramento River surface water supply is that the acquifer (as we currently use it) is a constantly declining asset. Surface water on the other hand is much more of a self renewing resource. The acquifer has no way to flush itself of the minerals it contains. The river undergoes a constantly flushing process.

    In closing the acquifer water is based on the geology of the Coast Range, while river water is based on the granitic geology of the Sierras. That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none. Bottom-line, if water quality is a concern of yours you should love the prospect of surface water. Yess it will cost more, but like any product of superior quality, it may well be worth the price.

  2. Matt Williams

    One of the key differences between the current water supply and the Sacramento River surface water supply is that the acquifer (as we currently use it) is a constantly declining asset. Surface water on the other hand is much more of a self renewing resource. The acquifer has no way to flush itself of the minerals it contains. The river undergoes a constantly flushing process.

    In closing the acquifer water is based on the geology of the Coast Range, while river water is based on the granitic geology of the Sierras. That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none. Bottom-line, if water quality is a concern of yours you should love the prospect of surface water. Yess it will cost more, but like any product of superior quality, it may well be worth the price.

  3. Matt Williams

    One of the key differences between the current water supply and the Sacramento River surface water supply is that the acquifer (as we currently use it) is a constantly declining asset. Surface water on the other hand is much more of a self renewing resource. The acquifer has no way to flush itself of the minerals it contains. The river undergoes a constantly flushing process.

    In closing the acquifer water is based on the geology of the Coast Range, while river water is based on the granitic geology of the Sierras. That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none. Bottom-line, if water quality is a concern of yours you should love the prospect of surface water. Yess it will cost more, but like any product of superior quality, it may well be worth the price.

  4. Matt Williams

    One of the key differences between the current water supply and the Sacramento River surface water supply is that the acquifer (as we currently use it) is a constantly declining asset. Surface water on the other hand is much more of a self renewing resource. The acquifer has no way to flush itself of the minerals it contains. The river undergoes a constantly flushing process.

    In closing the acquifer water is based on the geology of the Coast Range, while river water is based on the granitic geology of the Sierras. That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none. Bottom-line, if water quality is a concern of yours you should love the prospect of surface water. Yess it will cost more, but like any product of superior quality, it may well be worth the price.

  5. davisite

    DPD: I agree that Mayor Greenwald needs to formally put a motion before the Council to obtain a “2nd opinion”, along with an evaluation of legitimate alternatives, from experts who will not profit directly from the project they are promoting. This will require some funding as it would be unreasonable to ask that the significant time that is necessary to evaluate this complex issue not be compensated for. For starters, the Council could transfer those moneys they approved(3-2) to SURVEY US about whether they needed to keep their promises concerning parks development. This motion would certainly be seconded by Heystek but the final outcome is entirely predictable,fails 3-2.

  6. davisite

    DPD: I agree that Mayor Greenwald needs to formally put a motion before the Council to obtain a “2nd opinion”, along with an evaluation of legitimate alternatives, from experts who will not profit directly from the project they are promoting. This will require some funding as it would be unreasonable to ask that the significant time that is necessary to evaluate this complex issue not be compensated for. For starters, the Council could transfer those moneys they approved(3-2) to SURVEY US about whether they needed to keep their promises concerning parks development. This motion would certainly be seconded by Heystek but the final outcome is entirely predictable,fails 3-2.

  7. davisite

    DPD: I agree that Mayor Greenwald needs to formally put a motion before the Council to obtain a “2nd opinion”, along with an evaluation of legitimate alternatives, from experts who will not profit directly from the project they are promoting. This will require some funding as it would be unreasonable to ask that the significant time that is necessary to evaluate this complex issue not be compensated for. For starters, the Council could transfer those moneys they approved(3-2) to SURVEY US about whether they needed to keep their promises concerning parks development. This motion would certainly be seconded by Heystek but the final outcome is entirely predictable,fails 3-2.

  8. davisite

    DPD: I agree that Mayor Greenwald needs to formally put a motion before the Council to obtain a “2nd opinion”, along with an evaluation of legitimate alternatives, from experts who will not profit directly from the project they are promoting. This will require some funding as it would be unreasonable to ask that the significant time that is necessary to evaluate this complex issue not be compensated for. For starters, the Council could transfer those moneys they approved(3-2) to SURVEY US about whether they needed to keep their promises concerning parks development. This motion would certainly be seconded by Heystek but the final outcome is entirely predictable,fails 3-2.

  9. Anonymous

    ‘That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none.’

    .. and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.

  10. Anonymous

    ‘That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none.’

    .. and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.

  11. Anonymous

    ‘That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none.’

    .. and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.

  12. Anonymous

    ‘That is why we have Boron in our water in Davis while Sacramento has virtually none.’

    .. and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.

  13. Mary

    Matt –

    Good comments, but I would like to see these findings come from different sources before we the taxpayers are hit with a potential $2,000 increase.

    The lack of transparency on this issue, especially given the fact that the company benefiting from this was at Saylor’s fundraiser, raises many eyebrows and brings forth many questions about the ethics (or lack of)of him pushing this through without providing the public more of an opportunity to have input.

  14. Mary

    Matt –

    Good comments, but I would like to see these findings come from different sources before we the taxpayers are hit with a potential $2,000 increase.

    The lack of transparency on this issue, especially given the fact that the company benefiting from this was at Saylor’s fundraiser, raises many eyebrows and brings forth many questions about the ethics (or lack of)of him pushing this through without providing the public more of an opportunity to have input.

  15. Mary

    Matt –

    Good comments, but I would like to see these findings come from different sources before we the taxpayers are hit with a potential $2,000 increase.

    The lack of transparency on this issue, especially given the fact that the company benefiting from this was at Saylor’s fundraiser, raises many eyebrows and brings forth many questions about the ethics (or lack of)of him pushing this through without providing the public more of an opportunity to have input.

  16. Mary

    Matt –

    Good comments, but I would like to see these findings come from different sources before we the taxpayers are hit with a potential $2,000 increase.

    The lack of transparency on this issue, especially given the fact that the company benefiting from this was at Saylor’s fundraiser, raises many eyebrows and brings forth many questions about the ethics (or lack of)of him pushing this through without providing the public more of an opportunity to have input.

  17. davisite

    ….From today’s Reuters News:
    “The WMO’s next statement on La Nina, based on a consensus forged from weather forecasting centers, is due in three months.

    La Nina last occurred from 1998 to 2001 — a prolonged event — and resulted in drought in much of the western United States.”

    In the above scenerio, Davis would be standing at the end of the line
    for their water allocation but would be told, “sorry, we’re out”, when it was their turn.. this, after spending at the very least $300 million. Davis aquifers have always recharged and never yet failed us.

  18. davisite

    ….From today’s Reuters News:
    “The WMO’s next statement on La Nina, based on a consensus forged from weather forecasting centers, is due in three months.

    La Nina last occurred from 1998 to 2001 — a prolonged event — and resulted in drought in much of the western United States.”

    In the above scenerio, Davis would be standing at the end of the line
    for their water allocation but would be told, “sorry, we’re out”, when it was their turn.. this, after spending at the very least $300 million. Davis aquifers have always recharged and never yet failed us.

  19. davisite

    ….From today’s Reuters News:
    “The WMO’s next statement on La Nina, based on a consensus forged from weather forecasting centers, is due in three months.

    La Nina last occurred from 1998 to 2001 — a prolonged event — and resulted in drought in much of the western United States.”

    In the above scenerio, Davis would be standing at the end of the line
    for their water allocation but would be told, “sorry, we’re out”, when it was their turn.. this, after spending at the very least $300 million. Davis aquifers have always recharged and never yet failed us.

  20. davisite

    ….From today’s Reuters News:
    “The WMO’s next statement on La Nina, based on a consensus forged from weather forecasting centers, is due in three months.

    La Nina last occurred from 1998 to 2001 — a prolonged event — and resulted in drought in much of the western United States.”

    In the above scenerio, Davis would be standing at the end of the line
    for their water allocation but would be told, “sorry, we’re out”, when it was their turn.. this, after spending at the very least $300 million. Davis aquifers have always recharged and never yet failed us.

  21. Matt Williams

    Anonymous said…
    “… and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.”

    Anonoymous, that is an interesting comment. Would you care to elaborate?

  22. Matt Williams

    Anonymous said…
    “… and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.”

    Anonoymous, that is an interesting comment. Would you care to elaborate?

  23. Matt Williams

    Anonymous said…
    “… and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.”

    Anonoymous, that is an interesting comment. Would you care to elaborate?

  24. Matt Williams

    Anonymous said…
    “… and that is why we have no residential/agricultural run-off issues that surface water has to contend with.”

    Anonoymous, that is an interesting comment. Would you care to elaborate?

  25. Anonymous

    Matt: I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert but it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.

  26. Anonymous

    Matt: I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert but it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.

  27. Anonymous

    Matt: I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert but it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.

  28. Anonymous

    Matt: I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert but it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.

  29. Don Shor

    Davisite: I would urge that discussions of global warming and Southern Oscillation effects on regional water supply be kept out of these discussions, as they have little bearing on the issue of long term water supply in this region. Moreover, “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.

    The concerns about the water project have to do with the cost (which is really a political issue: pricing structure can be set by council), and apparently with the credibility of the firms that did the analyses. I have no problem with Mayor Greenwald convening a panel of outside experts. The sooner the better.

  30. Don Shor

    Davisite: I would urge that discussions of global warming and Southern Oscillation effects on regional water supply be kept out of these discussions, as they have little bearing on the issue of long term water supply in this region. Moreover, “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.

    The concerns about the water project have to do with the cost (which is really a political issue: pricing structure can be set by council), and apparently with the credibility of the firms that did the analyses. I have no problem with Mayor Greenwald convening a panel of outside experts. The sooner the better.

  31. Don Shor

    Davisite: I would urge that discussions of global warming and Southern Oscillation effects on regional water supply be kept out of these discussions, as they have little bearing on the issue of long term water supply in this region. Moreover, “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.

    The concerns about the water project have to do with the cost (which is really a political issue: pricing structure can be set by council), and apparently with the credibility of the firms that did the analyses. I have no problem with Mayor Greenwald convening a panel of outside experts. The sooner the better.

  32. Don Shor

    Davisite: I would urge that discussions of global warming and Southern Oscillation effects on regional water supply be kept out of these discussions, as they have little bearing on the issue of long term water supply in this region. Moreover, “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.

    The concerns about the water project have to do with the cost (which is really a political issue: pricing structure can be set by council), and apparently with the credibility of the firms that did the analyses. I have no problem with Mayor Greenwald convening a panel of outside experts. The sooner the better.

  33. Don Shor

    “it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.”

    Groundwater has its own quality issues, as many of those impurities pass through the soil in to shallower aquifers. There are many salts (naturally occurring and otherwise) in ground water, as well as some agricultural pollutants. Surface water is probably cleaner overall.

  34. Don Shor

    “it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.”

    Groundwater has its own quality issues, as many of those impurities pass through the soil in to shallower aquifers. There are many salts (naturally occurring and otherwise) in ground water, as well as some agricultural pollutants. Surface water is probably cleaner overall.

  35. Don Shor

    “it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.”

    Groundwater has its own quality issues, as many of those impurities pass through the soil in to shallower aquifers. There are many salts (naturally occurring and otherwise) in ground water, as well as some agricultural pollutants. Surface water is probably cleaner overall.

  36. Don Shor

    “it is well known that residential pollutants(oil, chemicals, etc.) and agricultural (pesticides and fertilizer) surface run-off into the rivers present problems. We are well downstream of the headwaters of the Sacramento river system and the accumulation must be significant.”

    Groundwater has its own quality issues, as many of those impurities pass through the soil in to shallower aquifers. There are many salts (naturally occurring and otherwise) in ground water, as well as some agricultural pollutants. Surface water is probably cleaner overall.

  37. davisite

    “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.”

    Don… I believe that the presentations stated that Davis would probably have regular access to surface water during the winter months but, as we ARE on the end of the line with our water bucket, our access to surface water in dry times will depend upon availability.

  38. davisite

    “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.”

    Don… I believe that the presentations stated that Davis would probably have regular access to surface water during the winter months but, as we ARE on the end of the line with our water bucket, our access to surface water in dry times will depend upon availability.

  39. davisite

    “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.”

    Don… I believe that the presentations stated that Davis would probably have regular access to surface water during the winter months but, as we ARE on the end of the line with our water bucket, our access to surface water in dry times will depend upon availability.

  40. davisite

    “Davis would be standing at the end of the line” is not true.”

    Don… I believe that the presentations stated that Davis would probably have regular access to surface water during the winter months but, as we ARE on the end of the line with our water bucket, our access to surface water in dry times will depend upon availability.

  41. davisite

    ….as a matter of fact, I remember that the argument that it was important to quickly get this surface water project initiated, in order to not fall further back on the line, could not be sustained since the current situation already places us so far back on the line that it could longer made any significant difference.

  42. davisite

    ….as a matter of fact, I remember that the argument that it was important to quickly get this surface water project initiated, in order to not fall further back on the line, could not be sustained since the current situation already places us so far back on the line that it could longer made any significant difference.

  43. davisite

    ….as a matter of fact, I remember that the argument that it was important to quickly get this surface water project initiated, in order to not fall further back on the line, could not be sustained since the current situation already places us so far back on the line that it could longer made any significant difference.

  44. davisite

    ….as a matter of fact, I remember that the argument that it was important to quickly get this surface water project initiated, in order to not fall further back on the line, could not be sustained since the current situation already places us so far back on the line that it could longer made any significant difference.

  45. Anonymous

    “Anonymous said…
    This was an interesting article, Doug. Although, I liked it more the first 10 times you wrote the exact same thing.

    …read,shut up about this! Don’t keep raising these issues to the voter’s consciousness. They may get engaged and involved. Vanguard must be doing something right!

  46. Anonymous

    “Anonymous said…
    This was an interesting article, Doug. Although, I liked it more the first 10 times you wrote the exact same thing.

    …read,shut up about this! Don’t keep raising these issues to the voter’s consciousness. They may get engaged and involved. Vanguard must be doing something right!

  47. Anonymous

    “Anonymous said…
    This was an interesting article, Doug. Although, I liked it more the first 10 times you wrote the exact same thing.

    …read,shut up about this! Don’t keep raising these issues to the voter’s consciousness. They may get engaged and involved. Vanguard must be doing something right!

  48. Anonymous

    “Anonymous said…
    This was an interesting article, Doug. Although, I liked it more the first 10 times you wrote the exact same thing.

    …read,shut up about this! Don’t keep raising these issues to the voter’s consciousness. They may get engaged and involved. Vanguard must be doing something right!

  49. Sue Greenwald

    The cumulative cost to Davis ratepayers of the water, wastewater, and storm sewer capitol projects will be staggering, if they all go forward at the same time. Staff is already acknowledging a probable $360 million cost.

    Given the cost overruns of every other project I have seen completed, I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects will end up costing over half a billion dollars. The cost of paying for these capitol improvements, plus operating two separate water systems (well and surface), plus buying water in the summer, will be again, be staggering.

    We all agree that a reliable supply of safe drinking water is our goal. The deep acquifer water and the surface water are our two safest sources. Both have their problems, but both are either safe, or can be treated to safe levels.

    I have already made several formal motions that we undertake a study of the risks and benefits of postponing the surface water projects 25 or 30 years until the $160 million wastewater treatment facility and the $50 million or so of storm sewer upgrades are paid off. Only Lamar has backed me.

    The problem with our existing studies is mainly that they don’t ask the right questions. They ask if, rather than when, we will need to import water. One of the very same experts who has been saying that we will need to import water mentioned to me, when I asked him directly, that it is not clear that we couldn’t wait another 25 or 30 years.

    I have talked spoken with a number of the State’s top water experts in groundwater, surface water and water rights.

    There seemed to be a consensus that if the financial burdens were really as high as I said, that a formal study of the risks and benefits of postponing the project would be in order.

    Finally, top experts don’t line up at the microphone for public comment. They don’t make public statements until they have thoroughly studied an issue. We would need, as I have been proposing for years, to have a formal study done which poses the right questions, in the right manner, to the right experts.

  50. Sue Greenwald

    The cumulative cost to Davis ratepayers of the water, wastewater, and storm sewer capitol projects will be staggering, if they all go forward at the same time. Staff is already acknowledging a probable $360 million cost.

    Given the cost overruns of every other project I have seen completed, I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects will end up costing over half a billion dollars. The cost of paying for these capitol improvements, plus operating two separate water systems (well and surface), plus buying water in the summer, will be again, be staggering.

    We all agree that a reliable supply of safe drinking water is our goal. The deep acquifer water and the surface water are our two safest sources. Both have their problems, but both are either safe, or can be treated to safe levels.

    I have already made several formal motions that we undertake a study of the risks and benefits of postponing the surface water projects 25 or 30 years until the $160 million wastewater treatment facility and the $50 million or so of storm sewer upgrades are paid off. Only Lamar has backed me.

    The problem with our existing studies is mainly that they don’t ask the right questions. They ask if, rather than when, we will need to import water. One of the very same experts who has been saying that we will need to import water mentioned to me, when I asked him directly, that it is not clear that we couldn’t wait another 25 or 30 years.

    I have talked spoken with a number of the State’s top water experts in groundwater, surface water and water rights.

    There seemed to be a consensus that if the financial burdens were really as high as I said, that a formal study of the risks and benefits of postponing the project would be in order.

    Finally, top experts don’t line up at the microphone for public comment. They don’t make public statements until they have thoroughly studied an issue. We would need, as I have been proposing for years, to have a formal study done which poses the right questions, in the right manner, to the right experts.

  51. Sue Greenwald

    The cumulative cost to Davis ratepayers of the water, wastewater, and storm sewer capitol projects will be staggering, if they all go forward at the same time. Staff is already acknowledging a probable $360 million cost.

    Given the cost overruns of every other project I have seen completed, I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects will end up costing over half a billion dollars. The cost of paying for these capitol improvements, plus operating two separate water systems (well and surface), plus buying water in the summer, will be again, be staggering.

    We all agree that a reliable supply of safe drinking water is our goal. The deep acquifer water and the surface water are our two safest sources. Both have their problems, but both are either safe, or can be treated to safe levels.

    I have already made several formal motions that we undertake a study of the risks and benefits of postponing the surface water projects 25 or 30 years until the $160 million wastewater treatment facility and the $50 million or so of storm sewer upgrades are paid off. Only Lamar has backed me.

    The problem with our existing studies is mainly that they don’t ask the right questions. They ask if, rather than when, we will need to import water. One of the very same experts who has been saying that we will need to import water mentioned to me, when I asked him directly, that it is not clear that we couldn’t wait another 25 or 30 years.

    I have talked spoken with a number of the State’s top water experts in groundwater, surface water and water rights.

    There seemed to be a consensus that if the financial burdens were really as high as I said, that a formal study of the risks and benefits of postponing the project would be in order.

    Finally, top experts don’t line up at the microphone for public comment. They don’t make public statements until they have thoroughly studied an issue. We would need, as I have been proposing for years, to have a formal study done which poses the right questions, in the right manner, to the right experts.

  52. Sue Greenwald

    The cumulative cost to Davis ratepayers of the water, wastewater, and storm sewer capitol projects will be staggering, if they all go forward at the same time. Staff is already acknowledging a probable $360 million cost.

    Given the cost overruns of every other project I have seen completed, I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects will end up costing over half a billion dollars. The cost of paying for these capitol improvements, plus operating two separate water systems (well and surface), plus buying water in the summer, will be again, be staggering.

    We all agree that a reliable supply of safe drinking water is our goal. The deep acquifer water and the surface water are our two safest sources. Both have their problems, but both are either safe, or can be treated to safe levels.

    I have already made several formal motions that we undertake a study of the risks and benefits of postponing the surface water projects 25 or 30 years until the $160 million wastewater treatment facility and the $50 million or so of storm sewer upgrades are paid off. Only Lamar has backed me.

    The problem with our existing studies is mainly that they don’t ask the right questions. They ask if, rather than when, we will need to import water. One of the very same experts who has been saying that we will need to import water mentioned to me, when I asked him directly, that it is not clear that we couldn’t wait another 25 or 30 years.

    I have talked spoken with a number of the State’s top water experts in groundwater, surface water and water rights.

    There seemed to be a consensus that if the financial burdens were really as high as I said, that a formal study of the risks and benefits of postponing the project would be in order.

    Finally, top experts don’t line up at the microphone for public comment. They don’t make public statements until they have thoroughly studied an issue. We would need, as I have been proposing for years, to have a formal study done which poses the right questions, in the right manner, to the right experts.

  53. Anonymous

    I know we will hear the refrain that it will cost so much more to build it later than now.. Inflation, purchasing power of the dollar ripples through the entire economy and pretty much negates this argument.

  54. Anonymous

    I know we will hear the refrain that it will cost so much more to build it later than now.. Inflation, purchasing power of the dollar ripples through the entire economy and pretty much negates this argument.

  55. Anonymous

    I know we will hear the refrain that it will cost so much more to build it later than now.. Inflation, purchasing power of the dollar ripples through the entire economy and pretty much negates this argument.

  56. Anonymous

    I know we will hear the refrain that it will cost so much more to build it later than now.. Inflation, purchasing power of the dollar ripples through the entire economy and pretty much negates this argument.

  57. davisite

    We all know where this is going IF we permit these projects to go ahead without complete analysis and without adequate spacing to not overburden the current taxpayers. The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.

  58. davisite

    We all know where this is going IF we permit these projects to go ahead without complete analysis and without adequate spacing to not overburden the current taxpayers. The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.

  59. davisite

    We all know where this is going IF we permit these projects to go ahead without complete analysis and without adequate spacing to not overburden the current taxpayers. The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.

  60. davisite

    We all know where this is going IF we permit these projects to go ahead without complete analysis and without adequate spacing to not overburden the current taxpayers. The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.

  61. Anonymous

    “The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.”

    Normally Davisite is wrong on everything she says. But here she gets it right. If we take on huge infrastructure burdens, we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.

  62. Anonymous

    “The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.”

    Normally Davisite is wrong on everything she says. But here she gets it right. If we take on huge infrastructure burdens, we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.

  63. Anonymous

    “The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.”

    Normally Davisite is wrong on everything she says. But here she gets it right. If we take on huge infrastructure burdens, we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.

  64. Anonymous

    “The debt load to current Davis voters will be so prohibitive that they will be sorely tempted to submit to MASSIVE peripheral residential development to add 10’s of thousands more to the tax rolls.”

    Normally Davisite is wrong on everything she says. But here she gets it right. If we take on huge infrastructure burdens, we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.

  65. davisite

    “…we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.”

    RATE of growth is the issue here. Spacing out the inevitable increasing costs to Davis taxpayers allows for the kind of growth that the Davis voter chooses, not is extorted into accepting..

  66. davisite

    “…we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.”

    RATE of growth is the issue here. Spacing out the inevitable increasing costs to Davis taxpayers allows for the kind of growth that the Davis voter chooses, not is extorted into accepting..

  67. davisite

    “…we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.”

    RATE of growth is the issue here. Spacing out the inevitable increasing costs to Davis taxpayers allows for the kind of growth that the Davis voter chooses, not is extorted into accepting..

  68. davisite

    “…we will be forced to grow in order to spread the costs around to more households.”

    RATE of growth is the issue here. Spacing out the inevitable increasing costs to Davis taxpayers allows for the kind of growth that the Davis voter chooses, not is extorted into accepting..

  69. Yoloman

    Nice to see that Mayor Sue finally woke up about the surface water Trojan Horse. She voted for it for several years …

    Anyway, the surface water program being supported by staff and the CC majority is a border developer’s wet dream … paid for by the taxpayers in our fair city.

    Under state law, any new projects have to show in the EIR process that they have sufficient and reliable water supplies. Right now, the aquifers are holding their own. Our population of about 64,300 is about the same as back in 2000, when the Wagstaff Council set up and approved the current General Plan. Any new sizeable projects are going to have problems with the water supply …. unless they have surface water applications well underway and have, or close to having, thewater entitlements.

    Therefore, to develop the eastern portion of Yolo County, I think (it needs more research) that the developers have to have the surface water option …

    So the way that our city Public Works staff have painted their attempts at gaining surface water rights is to increase the quality of the water’s taste … and obviously in increases the supply for future EIR’s.

    If you dont want new development to come easily, then limit the infrastructure in place. Make any new large project pay for ALL of it.

    A good example is the widening of Richards Blovd issue in the 1990s …. the developers needed it widened in order to make the EIR’s for additional vast expansions of development in South Davis pencil out (traffic issues and access to the city center). It does not matter what excuses the staff and CC majority had at the time for the widening to NINE lanes …. it was all about expansion for future EIRs for development in South Davis.

    The voters reversed the CC, and the Richards Subway/Underpass stayed the same. (Of course, Mark Spencer on the Planning Commission came up with the brilliant idea for the right hand turn lane onto First.)

    So, if you want unlimited sprawl and huge projects … vote for the current CC majority and their dream of surface water to enable those new developments.

    The surface water project has to be stopped. Cold. Soon.

  70. Yoloman

    Nice to see that Mayor Sue finally woke up about the surface water Trojan Horse. She voted for it for several years …

    Anyway, the surface water program being supported by staff and the CC majority is a border developer’s wet dream … paid for by the taxpayers in our fair city.

    Under state law, any new projects have to show in the EIR process that they have sufficient and reliable water supplies. Right now, the aquifers are holding their own. Our population of about 64,300 is about the same as back in 2000, when the Wagstaff Council set up and approved the current General Plan. Any new sizeable projects are going to have problems with the water supply …. unless they have surface water applications well underway and have, or close to having, thewater entitlements.

    Therefore, to develop the eastern portion of Yolo County, I think (it needs more research) that the developers have to have the surface water option …

    So the way that our city Public Works staff have painted their attempts at gaining surface water rights is to increase the quality of the water’s taste … and obviously in increases the supply for future EIR’s.

    If you dont want new development to come easily, then limit the infrastructure in place. Make any new large project pay for ALL of it.

    A good example is the widening of Richards Blovd issue in the 1990s …. the developers needed it widened in order to make the EIR’s for additional vast expansions of development in South Davis pencil out (traffic issues and access to the city center). It does not matter what excuses the staff and CC majority had at the time for the widening to NINE lanes …. it was all about expansion for future EIRs for development in South Davis.

    The voters reversed the CC, and the Richards Subway/Underpass stayed the same. (Of course, Mark Spencer on the Planning Commission came up with the brilliant idea for the right hand turn lane onto First.)

    So, if you want unlimited sprawl and huge projects … vote for the current CC majority and their dream of surface water to enable those new developments.

    The surface water project has to be stopped. Cold. Soon.

  71. Yoloman

    Nice to see that Mayor Sue finally woke up about the surface water Trojan Horse. She voted for it for several years …

    Anyway, the surface water program being supported by staff and the CC majority is a border developer’s wet dream … paid for by the taxpayers in our fair city.

    Under state law, any new projects have to show in the EIR process that they have sufficient and reliable water supplies. Right now, the aquifers are holding their own. Our population of about 64,300 is about the same as back in 2000, when the Wagstaff Council set up and approved the current General Plan. Any new sizeable projects are going to have problems with the water supply …. unless they have surface water applications well underway and have, or close to having, thewater entitlements.

    Therefore, to develop the eastern portion of Yolo County, I think (it needs more research) that the developers have to have the surface water option …

    So the way that our city Public Works staff have painted their attempts at gaining surface water rights is to increase the quality of the water’s taste … and obviously in increases the supply for future EIR’s.

    If you dont want new development to come easily, then limit the infrastructure in place. Make any new large project pay for ALL of it.

    A good example is the widening of Richards Blovd issue in the 1990s …. the developers needed it widened in order to make the EIR’s for additional vast expansions of development in South Davis pencil out (traffic issues and access to the city center). It does not matter what excuses the staff and CC majority had at the time for the widening to NINE lanes …. it was all about expansion for future EIRs for development in South Davis.

    The voters reversed the CC, and the Richards Subway/Underpass stayed the same. (Of course, Mark Spencer on the Planning Commission came up with the brilliant idea for the right hand turn lane onto First.)

    So, if you want unlimited sprawl and huge projects … vote for the current CC majority and their dream of surface water to enable those new developments.

    The surface water project has to be stopped. Cold. Soon.

  72. Yoloman

    Nice to see that Mayor Sue finally woke up about the surface water Trojan Horse. She voted for it for several years …

    Anyway, the surface water program being supported by staff and the CC majority is a border developer’s wet dream … paid for by the taxpayers in our fair city.

    Under state law, any new projects have to show in the EIR process that they have sufficient and reliable water supplies. Right now, the aquifers are holding their own. Our population of about 64,300 is about the same as back in 2000, when the Wagstaff Council set up and approved the current General Plan. Any new sizeable projects are going to have problems with the water supply …. unless they have surface water applications well underway and have, or close to having, thewater entitlements.

    Therefore, to develop the eastern portion of Yolo County, I think (it needs more research) that the developers have to have the surface water option …

    So the way that our city Public Works staff have painted their attempts at gaining surface water rights is to increase the quality of the water’s taste … and obviously in increases the supply for future EIR’s.

    If you dont want new development to come easily, then limit the infrastructure in place. Make any new large project pay for ALL of it.

    A good example is the widening of Richards Blovd issue in the 1990s …. the developers needed it widened in order to make the EIR’s for additional vast expansions of development in South Davis pencil out (traffic issues and access to the city center). It does not matter what excuses the staff and CC majority had at the time for the widening to NINE lanes …. it was all about expansion for future EIRs for development in South Davis.

    The voters reversed the CC, and the Richards Subway/Underpass stayed the same. (Of course, Mark Spencer on the Planning Commission came up with the brilliant idea for the right hand turn lane onto First.)

    So, if you want unlimited sprawl and huge projects … vote for the current CC majority and their dream of surface water to enable those new developments.

    The surface water project has to be stopped. Cold. Soon.

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