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DENNIS ERDMAN, Dana Point
For the past four decades, I’ve been a “water guy.” I’ve served as a general manager and as an elected official for water and wastewater agencies locally and around the state. I’m a civil engineer and a public utility manager.
We need to be sure rate payers are being well served, costs are controlled as closely as possible, and there is a positive benefit to the customers from what is spent.
In recent years, South Coast Water District has undertaken a major sewer tunnel rehabilitation projected to cost approximately $100 million. The district is also contemplating development of an ocean water desalination plant costing over $110 million. Over the next ten years, SCWD has needs for infrastructure repairs, upgrades and replacements costing about $100 million. This project list totals about $300 million in future work. That’s not a sustainable situation, and I’ll seek to redirect the district’s efforts to reduce costs, defer projects that can be set back and eliminate unnecessary ones.
Timing for the desalination project may need to be changed or delayed until a suitable financial plan and perhaps the addition of other project partners can be found. The district must be very thorough in going through the details and not rush into this just because it sounds good. I support SCWD having a portfolio of water sources to draw upon. This portfolio should consist of imported supplies, recycled water for irrigation, local groundwater from the San Juan Watershed, captured storm water, and water efficiency/water conservation efforts by the community, and perhaps desalination if all the critical questions get answered.
I ask for your vote so that I can continue to work to see that water and wastewater services will remain safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible.