Hydrowonk gratefully received an invitation to attend the Salton Sea Tour sponsored by the Water Education Foundation on March 16th, the day the Natural Resources Agency released a 10-Year Plan for habitat and dust suppression projects in the Salton Sea. The tour was hosted by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, State Senator Ben Hueso and Resources Secretary John Laird. After assembling at the Imperial County Airport, the entourage went to two venues.
Why Field Visits are Always a Good Idea
The first stop was the Red Hill Marina. Presentations included the observation that, in 2004, the Salton Sea shoreline was where tents were installed for a brown bag lunch. I looked west to find the Salton Sea shoreline miles away. I was stunned at the decline in the Salton Sea elevation with the attendant increase in the amount of exposed playa laced with residues of toxic/unhealthful chemicals and organics.
Rick’s Café Californian
California’s water world is abuzz with the revelation that the BDCP involves acquisition of land parcels for the project’s diversion facilities and 30-mile twin tunnels, either by acquisition or by Eminent Domain. As Rick Blaine (aka Humphrey Bogart) stated in Casablanca, “I’m shocked. Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Continue reading
With the implementation of the Quantification Settlement Agreement in 2003, the amount of Colorado River water available to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has been less than the capacity of the Colorado River Aqueduct (“CRA”). For example, the Bureau of Reclamation currently forecasts that Metropolitan’s use of Colorado River water will be 861,616 AF in 2015 http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/forecast15.pdf. This is 438,834 AF less than the historical maximum annual amount of 1.3 million AF of Colorado River water conveyed through the CRA. Continue reading
Two recent transactions in western water (San Diego County Water Authority’s Carlsbad Desalination Plant and San Antonio Water System’s Vista Ridge Project) provide an opportunity to discuss the economics of the structure of debt and equity payments to project developers. For long-lived projects, a finance plan that matches the term of debt structure to the project’s life, makes both debt and equity payments subject to inflationary adjustments and deferred payments at the end of the payment period provides the best economic incentives for:
- customers to conserve water
- project operators to fulfill their contractual obligations
Plans that don’t incorporate these features will shift the economic burden of project costs to
future current customers relative to current future customers, erode the economic incentives for customers to conserve water long-term and dilute the economic cost of project operators defaulting on contractual obligations. Continue reading