Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation title=
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation
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Source: Montecito Water District

Last week Montecito Water District’s (MWD) Strategic Planning Committee met to review the current status of a potential long-term Water Supply Agreement with the City of Santa Barbara (City). Phase 2 negotiations resumed in late March 2018, spearheaded by Nick Turner, MWD’s General Manager. Staff has worked diligently and in earnest to arrive at the current draft terms, which were presented by District consultant David Moore of Clean Energy Capital at the December 5th committee meeting. Josh Haggmark, City Water Resources Manager, was also in attendance. These key terms, which staff representatives backed as mutually agreeable, represent significant progress through a process that has been reinvigorated by a renewed commitment in regional partnerships.

“The content and timing of the meetings emphasizes that the two agencies are working together closely, compatibly, and efficiently. At the staff level, we are hopeful that the terms will be viewed favorably and garner mutual agreement so that we can move on to the next steps: finalizing a term sheet and drafting an agreement. We’re striving for regional cooperation that will bolster the production and affordability of local, reliable water supplies for all parties,” said Turner.

Key terms satisfactorily address a number of past sticking points, including duration of an agreement, source of water supply, and cost, as follows:

1) Duration: A 50-year term for the agreement is proposed, the maximum allowable under the City’s charter. Shorter terms were a concern in prior MWD discussions, due to the significant costs involved.

2) Source: The source of water supplied remains at the City’s option, which is understood as vital for their management of a complex water supply portfolio. MWD is guaranteed water that meets all federal and State primary water quality requirements. Ultimately, this increased flexibility of supply will work in everyone’s favor as conditions change over time, and particularly if the agencies cooperate more on regionally appropriate strategies.

3) Cost: A new cost structure has been carefully engineered by the two parties, and lands the estimated cost at approximately $2,700 per Acre Foot This is a moderate reduction from prior MWD estimates, and seems to better address the needs of both agencies in planning for fixed versus variable costs. The cost decrease is partly due to increased volume as the discussion now commits to 1430 Acre Feet per Year (AFY), an increase of 180 AFY. Greater volume would give MWD more water security, and help the City achieve efficiencies by running the plant at greater production levels. The cost may be even further reduced in years when a newly described “Take if Offered” (TIO) provision is exercised, which could provide MWD with additional water, up to 445 AFY, when the City has available supply. Depending upon quantities involved, costs may be comparable to State Water, however the reliability of this local source gives it much greater value.

The City Council received a comparable presentation at their meeting today. The meetings were scheduled in tandem with hopes that both presentations would garner agreement and that staff could return to their respective Boards in January with term sheets for consideration and possible approval to move forward with development of a Water Supply Agreement. Preliminary support was expressed in both meetings, and work on a Water Supply Agreement will move full steam ahead.

The calendar, agendas, and press releases can be found on the District website: www.montecitowater.com.

Montecito Water District’s mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit www.montecitowater.com, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.

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yacht rocked Dec 19, 2018 06:06 PM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

Monties can afford to take a run at the problem in multiple ways: desal, wastewater recycling (special deal going to Montecito Country Club golf course), sucking groundwater dry, buying water from around the state and storing it afar, etc. If they didn't do this, the wealthy would all move to Hope Ranch, Padaro Lane (Carp water district), and beyond. So it goes.

PitMix Dec 19, 2018 02:02 PM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

Weren't Montecito Water District candidates arguing that it was stupid to dump their wastewater into the ocean? How exactly does desal water solve this problem? Unless they somehow thing that their wastewater will somehow make it over to the desal plant intake instead of going south/east along the coast like all of the rest of the ocean currents?

Luvaduck Dec 19, 2018 11:45 AM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

As long as they pay the going rate and can't call first dibs, fine, but they should not be the first teat on the hog. No guarantee of a specified <amount> regardless of climatic condition, only a percentage based on availability and number of residents not square-footage. Same should go for <all> water users with a discount offered for extremely, extremely low usage, off the top of my head, less than a third of the first tier. For those insisting on a green oasis: Pay $$$$ for it if that's what it takes to keep you from ignoring others (and reality) and sodding your lot like you live in Indiana.

RHS Dec 19, 2018 10:21 AM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

This is the end stage of the original corrupt deal that brought the revival of the ridiculously expensive and unneeded (for the city of SB) desalination plant. From the beginning the interests of Montecito were the driver. Montecito has limited water resources and has allowed its property owners to substantially overdraft the groundwater there with many new wells. Montecito is a heavy consumer of water per capita. So getting this swindle approved is a great deal for them. Why, for example, are the SB taxpayer/ratepayers to pay for 35% of the pipeline delivering desalinated water to Montecito? From the SB point of view this makes the desalination effort slightly more defensible (it the capacity were really needed and used). Mainly from the SB point of view this allows builders to further increase SB housing density and profit. Nothing good about this. It was led by SB politicians in debt (political contributions and personal) to Montecito money and by SB bureaucrats wanting to grow their empire.

Bird Dec 20, 2018 08:21 AM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

I’d very much like to see some facts on the quality of the desal water. Where can they be found? (i think it tastes great, much better than the pre-desal water; i’ve also noticed that it does not leave a crust in the coffee pot; and this is the first I’ve seen of plants being killed from the prior desal or of boron not being removed.) Where are the stats on the water, comparing the desal with the non-desal ? Thanks!

mattyboy Dec 19, 2018 08:12 AM
Water District and Santa Barbara Continue with Desalination Negotiation

I thought Montecito was going to persue their own desalination plant, since the city wanted too much money for their desal water? Now they are back to trying to negotiate rates down so they can keep their landscapes green at subsidized rates? City should tell them to pound sand and go ahead with their own desalination plant idea.

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