Category Archives: Capital Investment

Stormwater Infrastructure and its Potential Role to Change Water Supplies in California

As California slogs through the fourth year of unprecedented drought, all options are on the table to provide new water supplies to the drought-parched state. Last week, I wrote about recycled water and its potentially increased role in the Western United States’ water supply. In the post, however, I cautioned that the high costs associated with this water as compared to surface water supplies during “normal” rainfall years may make the implementation of widespread recycled water programs economically infeasible. Also, I alluded to the fact that the public sometimes has an aversion to recycled water programs due to phrases such as “toilet to tap” to describe the process of turning raw sewage into drinkable water. (Even some popular shows have discussed the theme. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon had Bill Gates on as a guest, and he and Jimmy Fallon drank water from the Janicki Omniprocessor, a machine that can create clean water from sewage in minutes. Gates hopes to send these machines to areas across the globe to cut down on diseases due to inadequate sanitation systems.) Continue reading

Project Evaluation I: Don’t Underestimate Capital Investment

The year 2013 will be busy with project evaluation.  In California, the Bay Delta Conservation Program (“BDCP”) will roll out an economic cost/benefit study.  In Texas, the Legislature will engage in its biennial exercise of trying to fund the Texas Water Plan.  Any state funding plan must evaluate projects.  Local agencies and the private sector throughout the west are developing and accessing their next water investments.

In my more than three decades of experience, I have seen many project evaluations.  Many miss the mark.  Starting with this post and continuing every Friday through February 8th, I share my views on issues that are sometimes handled properly, but often not or incompletely. Continue reading