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|San Diego County, CA||November 2, 2010 Election|
El Monte Valley Groundwater Recharge, Mining, and Reclamation Project
By James PeasleyCandidate for Director; Padre Dam Municipal Water District; Division 5
This information is provided by the candidate
The El Monte Valley Project is being pursued by the Helix WD in partnership with the Padre Dam MWD. The primary purpose is to create a local water supply. The estimated project cost is $270 million dollars. Issues such as mining operations and water rate impacts to Helix WD and Padre Dam MWD customers need to be fully addressed.The San Diego region needs a comprehensive solution to acquire sufficient and reliable water supply resources in an affordable and cost effective manner. Part of that solution must include new ways for water diversions from the Delta, water conservation, recycled water use, sea water desalinization, and groundwater well development.
Water supply agencies throughout California continue to face climate, environmental, legal, and other challenges that impact water source supply conditions, such as the court rulings regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta issues and the ongoing Colorado River Basin drought impacting the western states. These challenges will likely always be present. The regional wholesale water supply agencies, the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, along with their member agencies nevertheless must have sufficient, reliable water supplies to serve demands. As a result of these challenges and the increasing water rates, local water agencies are pursuing local water supply opportunities.
The El Monte Valley Groundwater Recharge, Mining, and Reclamation Project, also known as the El Monte Valley Project, is being pursued by the Helix Water District (WD) in partnership with the Padre Dam Municipal Water District (MWD).
The El Monte Valley Project objectives are as follows:
The Helix WD reports that their property in the El Monte Valley is zoned as extractive use for mining the sand and gravel. Surface mining will produce sand and gravel to help address San Diego County's aggregate needs and be accomplished to re-contour the riverbed for the riverbed restoration project.
The Padre Dam MWD Santee Water Reclamation Facility is planned to produce purified water for the purposes of to help raise the water table in the El Monte Valley allowing for restoration of the riverbed with native plants and creation of a public recreation area.
The overall cost of the El Monte Valley Project including Helix WD and Padre Dam MWD facilities is estimated at $270 million. Helix WD's portion of costs is about $100 million and the Padre Dam MWD's portion is about $170 million. It is envisioned that a mix of local, state, and federal funds will pay for the El Monte Valley Project. Revenues from the sand mining portion of the project will help lessen the impact on water rates with the goal to ensure cost effectiveness of the project, while minimizing long-term rate increases. The cost of the El Monte Valley project is significant to each agency.
The El Monte Valley Project schedule estimates environmental review and permitting through 2012, design efforts through 2013, construction of water facilities through 2014. The sand mining operations and riverbed restoration efforts are expected to last for about 10 years.
There are three primary questions that need to be fully and appropriately addressed prior to proceeding with the El Monte Valley Project. They are as follows: 1) What will be the water rate impacts to the customers of the Helix WD and the Padre Dam MWD? 2) The estimated project cost is $270 million dollars. This is nearly what the treatment portion of Poseidon Resources sea water desalinization project in Carlsbad is expected to cost generating 56,000 acre feet per day or 14 ten times greater than that generated from the El Monte Valley Project. What are the other water supply project(s) that can be achieved that will provide a greater return on investment in terms water total supplies? 3) If the project becomes reality what assurance is there that the state of California would not in the future decide that the remaining sand and gravel under the project site is deemed a valuable asset to the people of the state and thus begin new mining operations?
It is imperative that all the issues and questions be fully addressed as a part of the environmental review process for the El Monte Valley Project.
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