Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some updates for the Water District

I haven't posted in a while, but thought I'd put in a few updates:

I was elected Chair of the new Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Ad Hoc Committee, a committee of the District Board that's reviewing the CIP.  Our district necessarily deals with large and expensive capital projects, so it's critical that we do them right.  As a new committee, it's not entirely clear what our role will be, except that we hope to take a closer look at the CIP than the Board as a whole will have time to do.

The proposal for a Safe Clean Water measure moves forward, although a final decision whether to refer it to voters in November won't happen until July.  The measure extends an existing tax that expires in June 2016.  One logical argument would be to wait until November 2016 to renew it, but that would cause budgetary chaos as well as confusion and negative perceptions of renewing an "expired" tax.  We could also consider 2014, but the chance to get the most people to vote on it is in a presidential election year, so this one looks like a good one.  Finally, we know about other measures that might be coming up from other government agencies, so it might be best to get ours done now in 2012 instead of conflicting with others in 2014 or 2016.  But we'll see.

The District is considering its annual budget right now.  One thing I think I may want to change next year is to get a better comparison of the costs of various kinds of water supply.  For example, I suspect water conservation may be our cheapest way to achieve water goals, but that number isn't broken out.

One wild thought I had for the more distant future involves rainwater retention systems that people and businesses are doing on an increasing basis for water conservation purposes.  It seems to me that the owners, either on their own or by volunteering for some type of smart house system, could partially empty their cisterns and underground tanks in the hours leading up to a forecasted major flood.  That would mean that none of the precipitation in the system's collection area would contribute to a flood - a rooftop that would other contribute 100% of it's storm precipitation to a 100 year flood would contribute nothing. Might also work for stormwater detention swales built in parking lots.  Something to think about....

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