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Water treatment plant not economical

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Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 12:00 am

Lodi City Council members Susan Hitchcock and JoAnne Mounce got it right when they opposed a water treatment plant.

Councilman Bob Johnson said that using surface water instead of well water is the best kind of groundwater recharge. He should have added, "If it makes sense."

I submit that a Lodi water treatment plant does not make economic sense.

Groundwater recharge with spreading basins usually costs about $50 per acre-foot when there is no cost for water and where major infrastructure exists. North San Joaquin Water Conservation District has offered water at no cost and conveyance facilities are in place at the district and within Woodbridge Irrigation District.

A single family residence in Lodi uses about 0.5 acre foot per year.

Treated water would cost approximately $1,000 per acre-foot. This is based upon the following annual costs: $1.2 million for water, $2.8 million for personnel and operations, and at least $2 million for debt service for the $36 million plant for a total of $6 million for the 6,000 acre-feet purchased from WID. Please note that I have not included the costs for the wells needed to supply the 6,000 acre-feet during dry years when the WID water will not be available.

The water treatment plant project would not help to correct the groundwater overdraft, but would maintain the correction at the same level that existed when WID provided the 6,000 acre-feet for flood irrigation. WID sold the so-called "saved" water to Lodi after flood irrigation was replaced by drip. So, the treatment plant would get us back to where we were prior to 2003. It would not improve upon the recharge being done before 2003 with the extra flood irrigation water.

It seems obvious that the city should be working with the two water districts to construct and operate spreading basing recharge projects.

Ed Steffani


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