Zone 7 gears up for water price meeting | news

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The Zone 7 Water Agency will this week begin the first in a series of hearings examining and reviewing wholesale water prices for the entire Tri-Valley.

The workshops and board meetings will focus on reviewing wholesale water prices for 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026 to “ensure that treated water prices keep pace with the rising costs of providing safe, reliable water,” according to a press release .

Beginning Wednesday (31 August) at 6:00 p.m., the first workshop in the series will be a Water Supply Assessment, where the Agency’s Board will review the Tri-Valley’s long-term water reliability needs and related financial implications.

“The water supply assessment is Zone 7’s long-term water supply planning study,” Osborn Solitei, treasurer and assistant general manager of finance at Zone 7, told Weekly. “The last update in 2019 revealed that the Tri-Valley needs to invest in additional water supply and water supply reliability projects due to population growth expected from the expansion and declining reliability of the state water project.”

Solitei said the 2019 study, which is currently being updated, will be presented at the first workshop next week and will illustrate results that show the need for significant financial investment.

“The 2019 study also found that significant investment would be required and the average monthly water bill could cost $10 to $15 per month,” he said.

Water prices at the agency are determined through a wholesale study of treated water prices and a public review process. According to the press release, tariff adjustments are being considered due to rising costs for imported water, operations, maintenance, environmental and regulatory compliance.

Solitei said some of the projects the agency plans to invest in based on the 2019 study are the Sites Reservoir project, a $5.2 billion off-stream reservoir project funded by the California Department of Water Resources to be built in the Sacramento Valley and Delta Funded project.

The Delta Conveyance Project aims to improve the water supply system of the State Water Project, in which Zone 7 is a contractor, through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Solitei said the 2019 study found that various combinations of these and other projects would improve the reliability of Tri-Valley’s water supply.

“As Zone 7 develops treated water tariffs for the next four years, it’s important to educate the public on the key drivers of those tariffs,” he said.

Members of the public may attend any of the following public sessions to provide additional input:

* August 31, 6 p.m., Water Supply Assessment Workshop.

* September 7th, 6 p.m., board workshop (tariff discussion).

* Sept. 21, 7 p.m., regular board meeting (tariff discussion).

* October 19, 7:00 p.m., regular board meeting (rate setting).

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