The San Antonio Water System Board will vote Monday on a $3.40-billion landmark water deal that would pipe in 50,000 acre-feet of water to San Antonio annually as soon as 2019, enough to meet 20% of the growing city’s future water needs. If approved, the proposed contract will go to City Council for review and consideration and the ultimate approval.
The water would travel more than 140 miles in a privately constructed and financed pipeline from the Carrizo and Queen City aquifers in Lee and Burleson counties east of Austin. Vista Ridge Consortium – a partnership of the Spanish conglomerate Abengoa Water and Blue Water Systems, an Austin and San Antonio-based investor group, will have 10 days to sign the contract before it’s presented to City Council in late October.
The Vista Ridge deal represents the single biggest effort ever made to diversify San Antonio’s water supply and lessen its dependence on the Edwards Aquifer. The water will be the most expensive water ever bought or sold in South Texas at $1,852 – $1,959 an acre-foot, depending on interest rates. Water pumped from the Edwards Aquifer, no longer sufficient to meet the growing city’s needs, costs between $331 and $541 an acre-foot.
Monday evening, a panel will be held at the UTSA Downtown Campus, hosted by the College of Public Policy, to discuss the water deal. The event is free and open to the public.
Panelists at the event, to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Buena Vista Theater (BVB 1.326), will include Puente, District 8 Councilmember Ron Nirenberg, St. Mary’s University Assistant Professor of Law and Registered Geoscientist Amy Hardberger and UTSA College of Engineering‘s newly appointed Dean JoAnn Browning. UTSA alumnus Robert Rivard, editor of The Rivard Report, will moderate the discussion.
*Featured/top image: SAWS map of the Vista Ridge pipeline.