Solano County

North Bay Aqueduct could compete for bond money

By From page A3 | January 11, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Solano County water officials are continuing efforts to assure the proposed North Bay Aqueduct alternate intake project is eligible for money from a possible November state water bond measure.

But an actual allocation for the project within a bond measure appears to be off the table.

“I don’t think we ever assumed there would be an earmark where it says in the bond that there would be money available for the North Bay Aqueduct,” Solano County Water Agency General Manager David Okita said Friday. “That just isn’t done these days.”

The North Bay Aqueduct brings Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water to local cities. Pumps are in Barker Slough in eastern Solano County, where rare fish and water quality are issues. The Solano County Water Agency wants to build an alternate intake on the Sacramento River south of West Sacramento and pipe to local cities at an estimated cost of $550 million.

The Solano County Water Agency Board on Thursday passed a paper stating its position. Board members want to talk the matter over with state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, to see if any modifications are needed to the proposed bond, Okita said.

Wolk has been working to help shape a $6.5 million state water bond. Wolk in November 2013 said that the North Bay Aqueduct project will be able to compete favorably for bond money without opening the door to earmarks that could hurt efforts to pass a bond.

Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson said the North Bay Aqueduct project would fit into such bond categories as public health.

“Maybe I see the glass is half-full,” Thomson said on Friday. “I believe the North Bay Aqueduct can stand on its own two feet and can compete head-to-head with any other project.”

Thomson sits on the water agency board, along with the other four county supervisors, mayors from local cities and representatives from Solano Irrigation District and various water reclamation districts.

Okita said the agency would like to get half of the $550 million for the alternate intake from the state. Statewide benefits include improved water quality and getting the pumps out of an area in Solano County that the state is targeting for tidal wetlands restoration to benefit rare fish.

Local ratepayers would pay the other 50 percent, Okita said.

The paper passed by the water agency board on Thursday said that improving and protecting water quality is a public health issue that justifies state funding of some North Bay Aqueduct costs. A state water bond is one vehicle that could provide state money for the project, it said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 4 comments

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  • Mayor SancheJanuary 11, 2014 - 5:20 am

    It's a $6.5 billion bond. This article says $6.5 million erroneously.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterJanuary 11, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Even drunken sailors couldn't spend money like this. I'm sorry. To even compare drunken sailors to California politicians is an insult to drunken sailors.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Old SaltJanuary 11, 2014 - 12:09 pm

    Darn tootin', The Mister. When I was a drunken sailor I spent my own money getting drunk!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJanuary 11, 2014 - 12:50 pm

    How did you like that shower you took this morning?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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