News

Mountain View turns on water spigot to aid East Palo Alto

Big-ticket developers help fund $5 million agreement

The Mountain View City Council signed a $5 million deal Tuesday night to sell off water rights to East Palo Alto to help end the city's yearlong moratorium on development.

Under the deal, Mountain View agreed to transfer 1 million gallons per day to East Palo Alto, which would single-handedly boost the northern city's water supply by more than 50 percent. In exchange, Mountain View will receive a one-time lump payment of $5 million.

The agreement was approved by the City Council in a 6-1 vote with Councilman John McAlister opposing.

The deal is a lifesaver for East Palo Alto, which effectively ran out of water last June and had to call an emergency moratorium on a range of new construction. That action brought a sudden halt to a series of expansive developments already in the city's pipeline, including a 1.4-million-square-foot office campus at 2020 Bay Road that would be the city's largest-ever project. The water shortage also stalled a 120-unit affordable-housing project at 965 Weeks St. and also the launching of The Primary School, a Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan-funded private school.

Many of those big-ticket developers agreed to pitch in money to help facilitate the water transfer agreement, according to an East Palo Alto staff report. In exchange, those projects will reportedly receive priority on any new water connections that become available.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

On Tuesday night, a line of East Palo Alto officials came out to Mountain View to urge their Peninsula neighbors to approve the deal. Skipping his own city's council meeting that evening, East Palo Alto Mayor Larry Moody described the water as a game-changer for the future of his city.

"This comes from a heartfelt desire for residents of East Palo Alto to change our narrative," he said. "We can become a community that's pursuing our hopes and dreams; we can become a community like Mountain View."

By most accounts, the trade is a win-win for both cities. The region's major water provider, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), has allocated a meager 1.9 million gallons per day to East Palo Alto, giving it the lowest per-capita amount on the Peninsula.

Conversely, Mountain View has the problem of too much water. Under its SFPUC contract, the city must purchase at least 8.93 million gallons per day even if that full amount is never consumed. Mountain View officials reported that around 2011 and 2012, they ended up wasting $440,000 from water that wasn't needed. More recently, the SFPUC lifted those contract rules during the statewide drought years.

Mountain View elected leaders were reassured by Public Works staff that the city should have plenty of water for its long-term growth over the coming decades. But city leaders still exhibited some caution toward what would be an irreversible sale of their water rights. Councilwoman Pat Showalter, who just retired as a water utility engineer, pointed out it wasn't a decision to be made lightly.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

The uncertainty was too much for Councilman McAlister, who said he couldn't approve the deal while unsure if it would disadvantage Mountain View. Other council members were happy to approve it.

In addition to the water from Mountain View, East Palo Alto officials are also hoping to sign a deal with the city of Palo Alto for an extra 500,000 gallons per day.

Any transferring of water rights will still need to be given final approvals by the SFPUC.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Mountain View turns on water spigot to aid East Palo Alto

Big-ticket developers help fund $5 million agreement

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, May 24, 2017, 9:38 am

The Mountain View City Council signed a $5 million deal Tuesday night to sell off water rights to East Palo Alto to help end the city's yearlong moratorium on development.

Under the deal, Mountain View agreed to transfer 1 million gallons per day to East Palo Alto, which would single-handedly boost the northern city's water supply by more than 50 percent. In exchange, Mountain View will receive a one-time lump payment of $5 million.

The agreement was approved by the City Council in a 6-1 vote with Councilman John McAlister opposing.

The deal is a lifesaver for East Palo Alto, which effectively ran out of water last June and had to call an emergency moratorium on a range of new construction. That action brought a sudden halt to a series of expansive developments already in the city's pipeline, including a 1.4-million-square-foot office campus at 2020 Bay Road that would be the city's largest-ever project. The water shortage also stalled a 120-unit affordable-housing project at 965 Weeks St. and also the launching of The Primary School, a Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan-funded private school.

Many of those big-ticket developers agreed to pitch in money to help facilitate the water transfer agreement, according to an East Palo Alto staff report. In exchange, those projects will reportedly receive priority on any new water connections that become available.

On Tuesday night, a line of East Palo Alto officials came out to Mountain View to urge their Peninsula neighbors to approve the deal. Skipping his own city's council meeting that evening, East Palo Alto Mayor Larry Moody described the water as a game-changer for the future of his city.

"This comes from a heartfelt desire for residents of East Palo Alto to change our narrative," he said. "We can become a community that's pursuing our hopes and dreams; we can become a community like Mountain View."

By most accounts, the trade is a win-win for both cities. The region's major water provider, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), has allocated a meager 1.9 million gallons per day to East Palo Alto, giving it the lowest per-capita amount on the Peninsula.

Conversely, Mountain View has the problem of too much water. Under its SFPUC contract, the city must purchase at least 8.93 million gallons per day even if that full amount is never consumed. Mountain View officials reported that around 2011 and 2012, they ended up wasting $440,000 from water that wasn't needed. More recently, the SFPUC lifted those contract rules during the statewide drought years.

Mountain View elected leaders were reassured by Public Works staff that the city should have plenty of water for its long-term growth over the coming decades. But city leaders still exhibited some caution toward what would be an irreversible sale of their water rights. Councilwoman Pat Showalter, who just retired as a water utility engineer, pointed out it wasn't a decision to be made lightly.

The uncertainty was too much for Councilman McAlister, who said he couldn't approve the deal while unsure if it would disadvantage Mountain View. Other council members were happy to approve it.

In addition to the water from Mountain View, East Palo Alto officials are also hoping to sign a deal with the city of Palo Alto for an extra 500,000 gallons per day.

Any transferring of water rights will still need to be given final approvals by the SFPUC.

Comments

Orka
another community
on May 24, 2017 at 10:30 am
Orka, another community
on May 24, 2017 at 10:30 am
Like this comment

Mountain View Democrats gave away water rights to East Palo Alto effectively killing growth prospects for Mountain View and providing incredible growth opportunity for East Palo Alto property owners. OMG.


Read The Article
East Palo Alto
on May 24, 2017 at 11:17 am
Read The Article, East Palo Alto
on May 24, 2017 at 11:17 am
5 people like this

@Orka, did you even read the article?

"By most accounts, the trade is a win-win for both cities. [...] Mountain View has the problem of too much water. Under its SFPUC contract, the city must purchase at least 8.93 million gallons per day even if that full amount is never consumed. Mountain View officials reported that around 2011 and 2012, they ended up wasting $440,000 from water that wasn't needed."


Data please
another community
on May 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm
Data please, another community
on May 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm
3 people like this

Keep reading...

"Conversely, Mountain View has the problem of too much water. Under its SFPUC contract, the city must purchase at least 8.93 million gallons per day even if that full amount is never consumed. Mountain View officials reported that around 2011 and 2012, they ended up wasting $440,000 from water that wasn't needed. More recently, the SFPUC lifted those contract rules during the statewide drought years."

-----

The contract rules were lifted during the drought years, however from reading the article it is unclear whether 'the statewide drought years' began in 2013 or whether Mountain View used enough water to avoid paying fines in 2013 going forward until 'the statewide drought years' officially began and the contract rules were lifted by the SFPUC. Either way, Mountain View's population has increased substantially, both residential and business, since 2013... and both populations are continuing to grow by large numbers annually.

The report I read was projecting out to 2040, which is technically 'decades' away, but in reality it's only 23 years from now. Also, the report I read was not clear on what numbers were used for their 2040 projection, how much daytime/business water growth projected, and what was the population growth projection?

Let's see the data used to support the projected water usage for 'decades', and please let the public be fully informed about how how many 'decades' you're really talking about here...it's not six or seven decades, it's TWO decades, plus three years.






Online Name
another community
on May 24, 2017 at 10:00 pm
Online Name, another community
on May 24, 2017 at 10:00 pm
1 person likes this

The Google Mafia strikes again!!


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.