• Consultant study: Regional Water Project still most cost-effective; Scheduling and permitting analyses to follow

    By Marge Ann Jameson
    California American Water (Cal Am) ordered a study on the cost analysis of 11 water supply alternatives for the Monterey Peninsula, including Pacific Grove. The company plans to hold a public forum on the subject, set for Oct. 26, 2011.
    Cedar Street Times has obtained a copy of the report, dated October 5, 2011.
    In the cost analysis, RBF Consulting, authors of the report, outline the various alternatives which include some combinations of alternatives as well as stand-alone projects. Most have been suggested in some form or another, from various desalination plants (Marina, Moss Landing, Sand City, Monterey near the Naval Postgraduate School) to filtration plants and groundwater recharge.

    The Regional Water Project, a desalination plant at Marina with delivery to the rest of the Peninsula, is the project which has won State approval.
    Cal Am faces a Cease and Desist Order to cease pumping water for its customers from the Carmel River. By 2014, the company — and  those customers — must reduce use by 40 percent of what is currently used and by 2016 the reduction will increase to 60 percent of current use.
    It is important to note that the current report only includes cost analysis and does not include permitting and schedule impacts for the various alternatives.
    RBF advises that the permitting and schedule impacts report will follow.
    The analysis uses the current favored project, the Regional Water Supply Project – also known as the Marina desalination plant – as a basis for cost estimating, stating “It is clear that the estimate is based on an assumption that all of the supply wells . . . are slant wells and that the costs are in October 2012 dollars.”
    Demand for all alternatives except the last one, #11 in the list, is estimated at 15,200 acre-feet per year.
    The Regional Water Project, Alternative #1, with costs for construction, start-up, contingency and other allowances including cost of indebtedness comes in at $297,470,000 in RBF’s estimate. It adds an estimate for California American Water’s regional project facilities at $132,000,000 “most probable capital cost with contingency,” a high-end estimate of $156,000,000 and a low-end of $118,000,000.
    The cost cap for Cal Am had originally been set at $106,875,000 in the recent Settlement Agreement. That $107,000,000 includes conveyance facilities (pipes and pumps), a terminal reservoir, and an ASR system (Aquifer Storage Recovery).
    Adding the California American Water facilities costs of $107,000 to the capital cost of $297,000,000 for the Regional Water Project results in a total capital cost of $404,000,000 for the Regional Water Project. The result is a cost per acre foot per year (AFY) of $2680.
    Alternative #2 includes a lower-capacity desalination plant at Marina and groundwater recharge of advanced water treatment effluent from the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control authority’s regional treatment facility. The effluent would be used to recharge the Seaside aquifer. Cost/AFY: $2,980
    Alternative #3 involves a seasonally-operated surface water filtration plant in lower Carmel Valley, south of Carmel Valley Road and east of Carmel Rancho Road. A complicated system of pipelines, pump stations, chlorination systems  and reservoirs (ASR system) would complete the project. Cost/AFY: $2910
    Alternative #4 includes the Carmel Valley filtration plant, the extended ASR system and ground water recharge. Cost/AFY: $3,050
    Alternative #5 is the Carmel Valley filtration plant, a smaller desalination plant in Marina, and the extended ASR system. Cost/AFY: $3,340
    Alternative #6 involves the Carmel Valley filtration plant, expansion of the Sand City desalination plant already under way, and the extended ASR sysem. Cost/AFY: $3,170
    Alternative #7 proposes the Carmel Valley filtration plant, a desalination plant near the Naval Postgraduate School, and the extended ASR system. Cost/AFY: $3,890
    Alternative #8 adds more capacity to the Monterey desalination plant and includes an iron removal plant in lower Carmel Valley, from whence the water would be sent to the ASR system. Cost/AFY: $3,660
    Alternative #9 would offer a seasonal surface water filtration plant fed by diversion from the Salinas River plus the ASR system, pending approval to draw from the Salinas River. Cost/AFY: $2,880
    Alternative #10 is a deep-water desalination plant, located about 1 mile north of the current Moss Landing power plant near Elkhorn Slough plus delivery systems similar to the Regional Water Project. Cost/AFY: $4,460
    Alternative  #11 would require additional conservation on the part of customers, already at the lowest in the state. It would reduce the capacity of the Marina desalination plant and would include some ground water recharge. Cost/AFY: $3,500
    According to the report, implementation of any of the alternatives with the exception of #1, the Regional Water Project, would require “additional environmental impact analysis, recertification of the EIR, amendment and reapplication for the CPCN and amendment of the application to the California Coast Commission.” The report points out that all of the re-permitting would delay implementation well beyond the October, 2012 mid-point of construction (the basis of cost estimates in this report) and thus cost estimates might not hold.
    Additionally, Alernatives #3 through #9 involve obtaining water rights to divert from either the Carmel River or the Salinas River and the negotiation of rights to store the water against multi-year droughts. Alernatives which involve a Lower Carmel Valley filtration plant assume that land could be secured at a cost of $750,000 per acre for acquisition and $75,000 per acre for easements.
    RBF advises that as soon as an assessment of the permitting and scheduling impact for each alternative is completed, they will sibmit a subsequent report and make a final recommendation as to the most atractive alternative in their opinion.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 9, 2011

    Topics: Breaking News, Current Edition, Front PG News, Marge Ann Jameson

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