Vacaville looks to sell parched Benicia some water

By From page A3 | May 26, 2014

VACAVILLE — City Council members, in a bid to help a neighboring city, will look Tuesday at giving some of its water to parched Benicia.

Due to the lack of snowpack after below-average precipitation, the state notified State Water Project customers that 2014 water supply allocations will be limited to 5 percent of normal yearly allocations.

Solano County cities of Vacaville, Fairfield, Benicia and Vallejo receive water from the project. However, while other Solano agencies have two sources of water – the State Water Project and the Solano Project (Lake Berryessa) – Vacaville and the Solano Irrigation District have the addition of groundwater.

Benicia does not have Solano Project water nor does it have groundwater wells, due to geographical constraints.

All the cities in Solano County and the Solano Irrigation District belong to the Solano County Water Agency, which works collaboratively to solve water issues that affect the county, encourage water conservation and assist each other in drought-related situations.

Benicia approached other agency members about the purchase of water to make up for the allotment reduction. Residents are already on mandatory water conservation but that will not be enough for the water-parched area of Solano County.

More than 90 percent of Vacaville’s predrought water needs can be met with two of its three water sources: annual allocations from Lake Berryessa and groundwater. It also has Solano Project carryover “banked” for the future.

Benicia has asked for about 6,000 acre-feet of water over the next two years. If approved, Vacaville will sell to Benicia 4,000 acre-feet of Solano Project carryover water at $200 per acre-foot, the agreed-upon price within the agency. Comparatively, the most expensive water purchased by Vacaville is $130 per acre-foot.

An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or the amount of water needed to cover one acre with water a foot deep. This is enough water to serve two California families for a year, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Revenue from the water sale will go into the city’s water fund, with maximum revenue of about $800,000.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Hall council chamber, 650 Merchant St.

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.


Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Rick WoodMay 26, 2014 - 11:21 am

    This is a great example of how Solano's internal cooperation on water issues, develop over many years, is working. But frankly $200/acre-foot for emergency water supply is too low. Way too low. The market value of Solano Project water is at least $500/acre-foot for a guaranteed supply under all conditions, whether you use it or not. That means a city would have to pay $500,000/year to retain a priority to use 1,000 acre-feet/year of water any time it wants. It should be significantly higher if that “call” and payment is only under emergency conditions. Agencies short water need to be encouraged to spend the money to fix the problem, and that won’t happen if being bailed out is too easy. Perhaps there is more to this story.

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  • Tax PayerMay 26, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    Yep, why sell it so cheap and then hammer us with additional charges for the sewer treatment. This will become biggest issues in California as cities will fight for water rights! More higher tax bills coming to all of us as we become a desert!

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  • S KMay 26, 2014 - 7:17 pm

    Come on Benicia, you are right on the water for Gosh sake. Get a State grant, a loan, anything, and build yourselves a desalination plant, then having nearly an unlimited supply of water, which comes up from San Pablo Bay and then the Pacific Ocean, which will never ever be depleted>>>EVER, at least in our life time or until a massive asteroid hits, whichever comes first. And power it with a wind generator. Problem solved. And don't let anyone tell you that it can not be done. IT CAN BE!!!!!

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