Water Project Includes Four Key Components
The HUAWP includes four main components: expanded drinking water treatment, improved water supply reliability and protection of the groundwater basin. These four components will allow our local water utilities to:
- Provide higher quality water by improved treatment facilities;
- Maintain local control of our water resources;
- Manage regulatory requirements for drinking water as well as wastewater discharge on our community’s terms;
- Preserve local control of our water future.
The plan address our future water needs in the following ways:
- Includes a 30-year agreement with participating agencies;
- It provides the ability to expand water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants to meet future demands;
- It envisions the future development of the North County Groundwater Bank. This will improve the management and use of high-quality water from seasonal surface streams, and provide an opportunity for percolation and storage of excess imported water supplies when they are available;
- Allows local agencies to implement water system improvements autonomously – rather than under direction from outside mandates.
Direct Benefit is High-Quality Water
The most direct benefit of the HUAWP will be high-quality drinking water that Hollister and Sunnyslope water customers will receive. Tap water will have much lower salt levels and reduce the need for expensive water softeners. The high mineral content of tap water now can damage appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers and water heaters. For many customers, high-quality drinking water will also eliminate the need to buy bottled water.
One very important benefit of the water project is the improvement it will bring to our local wastewater treatment systems.
Upgrades to our local water reclamation system have greatly improved the quality of wastewater discharges. But improved treatment alone will not allow wastewater to meet future discharge mandates by the state. Improved drinking water quality, coupled with the reclamation plant treatment, will allow discharge to meet state regulations and avoid costly fines. This also protects the quality of our groundwater basin by reducing salt buildup.
Water Plan Takes Fiscally Responsible Approach
Leaders of the three-agency team spearheading the HUAWP are keenly aware of the need to be fiscally responsible in planning and carrying out the program. They have worked together to reduce the original costs for the program from about $100 million to about $30 million.
As public agencies, they are very sensitive to the price associated with the project and have made great efforts to contain costs and limit the scope of the program.
As part of the agreement among the three agencies, the San Benito County Water District (SBCWD) will provide a $10 million contribution to the program.
In addition, SBCWD is proposing to build and finance the water projects. The capital investment will be recovered through rates from the City and SSCWD. A study is being conducted that will analyze various rate increase scenarios to be considered by the City and SSCWD elected bodies.