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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.