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Desalination Voter Approval Requirements
Marin Municipal Water District
Majority Approval Required
Pass: 43244 / 55.30% Yes votes ...... 34950 / 44.70% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Jan 6 2:58pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (145/145)|
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
Ordinance 419. Shall an ordinance be adopted requiring voter approval before the Marin Municipal Water District approves, authorizes or undertakes the construction of a facility to desalinate water from San Francisco Bay, or other water body, or appropriates, authorizes expenditures for, issues revenue or other types of bonds, or approves other funding mechanisms intended to pay for such construction, or takes any steps towards approving any contract relating to the planning or construction of any such facility?
In 1989, the District Board of Directors adopted its Water Supply Master Plan which recommends continuing the District's long-term commitment to water conservation, increasing the District's water recycling activities, and developing supplemental potable water supplies to eliminate water supply deficiencies and diversify the District's sources of supply. In February, 2009, the Board certified the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed desalination facility and directed staff to pursue several options to balance water demand and supply, including further investment in the District's aggressive water conservation program, operational improvements to the reservoir system, an expansion of the District's recycled water distribution system, and investigation into ways to improve the reliability of the District's Russian River water supply. In August, 2009 the Board approved a 5 million gallon per day (MGD) desalination project (expandable to 15 MGD) and stated that there were several discretionary decisions that the Board had to make before approving contracts for the design and construction of a desalination facility. In April, 2010, the Board put the desalination project on hold, a status in which it remains today.
This measure is an initiative that the County Registrar of Voters qualified for the ballot on June 18, 2010. This measure would require voter approval of further actions to implement or fund the District Board's August 19, 2009, decision, or other decisions to plan, engineer or construct a desalination plant.
The initiative's stated purpose is to require majority approval of MMWD's voters before any further funds can be spent on a desalination project, including issuance of any bonds to construct a desalination facility, or the implementation of any contracts to plan for, engineer or construct a desalination facility.
The measure provides the voters must approve the following actions relating to any desalination facility:
A "YES" vote approves the measure, subject to the conditions stated above.
A "NO" vote rejects the measure.
s/MARY R. CASEY
Marin Independent Journal
|Arguments For Measure T||Arguments Against Measure T|
|We urge you to vote YES on Measure T.
Measure T requires the Water Board to hold a vote of the public BEFORE they spend millions more on a proposed San Rafael desalination plant to convert polluted San Francisco Bay water into our drinking water.
The Water Board has already spent $4-5 million on the San Rafael desalination plant. The Water Board has proposed spending millions more on contractors, engineers and 11 different permits, before they even begin the construction phase. Measure T would require a public vote BEFORE these additional millions are spent.
By contrast, the five incumbent members of the Water Board placed Measure S on the ballot, at the last minute, ahead of the Citizens' Measure, to allow continued spending without prior rate payer approval. Measure S gives the Water Board a blank check to spend millions more on their desalination plant before giving you the chance to vote on whether to pursue desalination at all.
Vote YES on T
Measure T is irresponsible and bad public policy. As Measure T's co-sponsor William Rothman says, Measure T would "put a straitjacket on MMWD."
MMWD has no plans to move ahead on desalination, and, should that position change at any point, MMWD is committed to obtaining voter approval prior to building any desalination facility. In fact, MMWD has already adopted an ordinance requiring such a vote before constructing or financing a desalination plant, and has put Measure S on this ballot to codify this action.
MEASURE T goes TOO FAR. Measure T goes far beyond a "vote on desal" + it restricts MMWD's ability to do responsible planning. It is so broadly written that it eliminates MMWD's ability to do studies or analyses of the value, costs or environmental effects of desalination as a future supply option, since even these basic activities would require a costly and time-consuming election.
By effectively taking desalination plans and studies off the table regardless of Marin's future water needs, Measure T would drive MMWD to focus on the option of increasing its reliance on water imported from the Russian and Eel Rivers, which have their own environmental challenges.
Measure T would reduce MMWD's flexibility to manage streamflows for endangered fisheries on Lagunitas Creek.
Planning for Marin's future water supply and fishery restoration needs is too important for straitjackets.
We strongly urge you to vote NO on MEASURE T.
|Measure T would deprive Marin County of the opportunity
to consider desalination as a future water supply option.
Measure T is so broadly written that it would prevent MMWD from conducting meaningful analyses and planning as to the value, costs, or environmental effects of a desalination facility without first taking the issue to an election.
Measure T's sponsor, William Rothman, candidly acknowledged at the MMWD Board meeting on July 26, that Measure T would "not only tie MMWD's hands, it would put [MMWD] in a straitjacket."
Marin's water supply is always tenuous and unstable, and it varies from year to year. It would be irresponsible to forever deprive the community of any single potentially viable future water supply option by forbidding the district from analyzing, investigating or planning for desalination, or any other viable alternative. Desalination is increasingly recognized by water districts in California and around the world as a promising way to improve reliability and drought preparedness. In Marin, as in other locations in California, desalination may provide the ability to reduce the diversion of water from stressed creeks and rivers, and to free up water to restore endangered fisheries. Further, Measure T has unintended environmental consequences: preventing MMWD from studying desalination would likely mean that water supply planning would again focus on supplies from the Russian and Eel Rivers, which have their own environmental challenges. As more and more species are placed on the endangered list, desalination -- as well as conservation and recycled water -- must continue to be considered in the portfolio of potential solutions.
Planning for Marin's future water supply and fishery restoration needs is too important for straitjackets. Measure T goes too far in preventing our water district from studying options and planning for the future.
We urge you to vote NO on Measure T.
Measure T requires the Water Board to hold a vote of the public before they spend millions more on their San Rafael desalination plant to convert San Francisco Bay water into our drinking water.
Measure T was signed by over 15,000 MMWD ratepayers.
Please join us in supporting Measure T:
s/LARRY ROSE, M.D., M.P.H.
|Full Text of Measure T|
|The people of the Marin Municipal Water District
(MMWD) do ordain as follows:
Section 1: Purpose
Section 2: Findings
Section 3: Marin Responsible Water Policy
Section 4: Severability
Section 5: Competing Ballot Measure
Section 6: Retroactive Application