Statement regarding Solano County Water Agency meeting
Yesterday, the board of directors of Solano County Water Agency decided not to accept our offer to help fund feasibility studies into the North Bay Aqueduct/Water Plus project. Helping improve this infrastructure was one of a dozen options we are evaluating for providing water for our project. It was not the cheapest or simplest one, but it was one that would have benefited all of Solano County, which is why we wanted to explore it (additional background is attached below).
Regrettably, under pressure from a vocal group of opponents of the project, the board declined staff’s recommendation to continue discussions with us, so we are proceeding with other water supply options we have been considering.
We note that the public speakers in the room do not represent the diversity of Solano County, one of the most diverse counties in our nation. Unfortunately, the Zoom room was capped at 100 people, and we heard from many supporters who could not join the room, and are frustrated that their voices were not heard.
Nevertheless, we are grateful to the public speakers and members of the board who supported our offer and look forward to continuing our positive engagement with the residents of Solano county.
Put simply, Solano County’s North Bay Aqueduct needs a new 20-mile water pipeline to get clean and reliable water. The studies alone cost several million dollars, and the pipeline itself is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. As of now, there is no plan for funding this.
Our offer was to study making the pipeline bigger, so that we could fund a significant portion of the cost in exchange for the right to use a smaller portion of the pipeline. Put differently, the idea was that we would pay X% of the pipeline cost but only use a smaller % of pipeline capacity. This would have reduced the cost of the pipeline for local residents and rate-payers. It was like sharing the cost of building a new fence or a new access road with your neighborhood, instead of each of you building your own.
Importantly, our offer was not to buy water from SCWA or other local agencies – we would have used our pipeline capacity to transport our water that we already own, as well as other water we would purchase from outside Solano County. For example, due to the oversupply of almonds and historically low prices, we have already been approached by almond growers from outside the county looking to sell us their water.
Sharing the cost of building a new pipeline was an opportunity to do two things that would have benefited all of Solano County:
Reduce the cost of bringing cleaner and more reliable water to all Solano County residents.
Bring more water into Solano County from outside the county.
Regrettably, due to pressure from a vocal group of opponents of the project, the board declined staff’s recommendation to continue discussions with us. We will proceed with other water supply options under consideration.