Among the issues: I learned at this meeting (Item 5) that private applicants or their consultants will prepare preliminary versions of environmental documents used by the Water District, as opposed to the more typical practice of cities preparing the documents themselves (or hiring consultants themselves), and requiring reimbursement from applicants. I have some concerns about this process, and intend to look into it.
Water rates for farming operations are far cheaper than the rates for everyone else (Item 7). In the last two years, these rates have been kept held down, in part, through the use of money meant to protect open space. I can understand the reasoning, but at a cost of over $1 million annually, I think that needs some analysis.
It's also clear from the presentations that the current water rates, frozen for three years, are going to have to increase (Item 7 and Item 8). The proposals are for about 9% annually for a number of years, or even more to deal with some additional infrastructure problems. Keeping rates frozen, by contrast, would put us in the same bind as San Francisco and the water it supplies to North Santa Clara County, where the rates are going up much, much higher due to deferred infrastructure replacement. Still, this is going to be very controversial politically.
Next meeting is January 11. Happy Holidays, everyone!