Aug 27 2014
The following is the response by Gary Arant, General Manager, Valley Center
MWD to the blog titled Water-The Third Rail Part XXXI Water Storage. NOT!
Posted on August 24, 2014. [Anyone who wishes to may comment on the blogs in
the space provided on the website. Comments are approved before being
Thanks for letting me read your blog. You did some nice research on my
agency, but unfortunately you missed the point of my Op Ed, and the
information in the actual article.
The article under the headline. Water Bond Wont Fill All of States Needs
and the secondary headline, San Diego would step toward independency from
outside sources, explains exactly how Proposition 1, if passed, will
benefit the SD Region. The vast majority of money in Proposition 1 will go
for things like wastewater recycling, desal, groundwater and watershed
protection; all the things that will help the San Diego Region move toward a
more diversified and reliable water supply portfolio.
My concern with the overall piece, was that if someone only read and
headlines, as many are want to do, they might come away with the
miss-impression that Proposition 1 was inadequate and wont help San Diego
become more water independent.
Nothing in Proposition 1 will result in cheap water for agriculture in
Valley Center, or anywhere else. The $2.7 billion for water storage will
only go toward the public benefits aspects of major storage, such as
eco-system restoration and recreation. The water supply benefits from any
storage constructed with this bond, about 2/3s to ¾s of the overall
project costs, will be paid for by the State Water Contractors, thats MWD,
the MWD member agencies, thats the SDCWA, and the retail agencies, thats
VCMWD and the end users, thats our domestic and ag customers. So
everything included in this water bond will only add to the already
expensive $1,350.00/AF that my agricultural customers struggle to pay for
water; perhaps the most expensive ag water anywhere. These cost increases
will only add to the rapid decline in ag activity in Valley Center as we
have seen the number ag customers decline from 1,850 to 1,150, the ag
acreage diminish by 12,000 acres, and ag water demand drop from 40,000 AF to
under 20,000 AF since the mid-2000s. This is the other side of the Water
Finally, VCMWD has been supportive of alternative water supply development.
When negotiations fell apart between Poseidon and the SDCWA in the
mid-2000s, VCMWD stepped up along with 8 other retail water agencies and
signed individual water purchase agreements to buy desalted seawater from
Poseidon. With the support of my Board, I chaired the San Diego Desal
Partners from 2006 to 2010, a group which led the effort to support the
project through the long and arduous permitting process with the State Water
Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, State
Lands Commission and Coastal Commission, battled 7 environmental lawsuits
eventually handed it back to the SDCWA for implementation. I also chaired
the SDCWA Board Desal Task Force to do the work which culminated in the
approval of the water purchase agreement between the SDCWA and the Poseidon
on November of 2011.
My Board will likely consider officially supporting Proposition 1 because
many believe it is what our state needs to restore the State Water Project,
which has been in decline for decades, to a more robust and reliably
system. It will also provide funding to help the San Diego Region, and
others statewide, to develop the regional water supplies needed to provide
the level of water supply security and reliability needed to sustain the
26,000 people living in Valley Center and our local economy.
I hope the voters of California take the time to read beyond your blog and
my response and make up their own minds on Proposition 1.
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, El Nino, La Nina, MWD, precipitation, purification, purple pipe, rainfall, residential water user, water rate hike, wet centuries