GENERAL MANAGER’S STATEMENT
A Message from the General Manager
I have to object to the Bee’s reference in last Monday’s article where the reporter characterized water sales as being a “philosophy embraced in recent years” at OID. How disingenuous on two fronts.
As defined on the Web, a philosophy “entails the study of a theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge of experience.” OID is not “studying anything.” That lifting is done. OID has a specific and strategic business plan to sell its “surplus water.” It’s not a philosophy.
Again, this water being sold is “surplus” and not committed to any local in-district or local farmer out-of-district water need. This is water that will go to the federal government for free if not sold. OID has successfully implemented that plan to the benefit of its constituents since 1998. That’s 1998. That’s NOT recent, as the Bee alluded to.
As a side note, since 1998, OID and its landowners have lost more than 600,000 acre-feet of water to the federal government as a result of no local demand. OID will lose 100,000 ac re-feet this year alone. I object to individuals who lately opine that OID needs to keep its water local when there is no local demand.
On the bright side, since 1998, $69 million in water sales have occurred -- and $67.8 million have been invested in OID’s water delivery system. This is the premise of the OID business plan: to use these revenues to address critical and failing infrastructure needs and to meet the modernization requirements now dictated by the state. OID has done all this at minimal cost to its ag customers. Somehow, according to the Bee, for a public agency to be entrepreneurial and to work hard to find ways to keep constituent water rates low is a disgraceful endeavor. Kind of like objecting to a newspaper branching into web media and advertising when its print media begins failing as a revenue generator. We as business minded businesses do what we can to keep our rates affordable for our users; that’s our job.
That OID business plan was developed after two years (2005-07) and an investment of $1.7 million in studies assessing the impacts of water sales. Two years of public outreach in our community. Two years of positive Bee reporting on the openness and transparency of that effort by OID. Now, according to the Bee, it was all done with “secret meetings” over just the last two years. Why the Bee reversal and constant negativity on this subject? The only thing that has changed since OID adopted its business plan has been the Bee reporter covering OID and the executive editor at the Bee. Hmm, surely you don’t think …
I have placed on the OID website a PowerPoint presentation I gave to the board on how water transfers and sales have benefited our local aquifer. A presentation the Bee reporter strangely missed. The facts based on historical data show OID and its landowners have increased the groundwater recharge in its service area 54% since 2001. At the same time, OID has decreased its groundwater pumping by 17%. So again, the Bee’s past rhetoric that OID is pumping and selling its groundwater is once again debunked. No reasonable person can look at the supportive data and conclude otherwise. OID has provided this same data to the Bee on multiple occasions, but the Bee has refused to put these facts into print or advise the public. More hmm …
Steve Knell , P.E.
(Updated October 19, 2017)
PowerPoint PresentationWater Transfers and Groundwater Recharge.pdf