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What Is Happening This Morning?

Gary Patton, Land Use Report, 3/7/12

I am an environmental attorney and represent the Community Water Coalition, or CWC, which is appearing this morning at the LAFCO meeting I mentioned yesterday. At issue is a proposal that would allow the City of Santa Cruz to extend water service to unserved portions of the UCSC campus. The University has asked for 152 million gallons of City‑supplied water, each year, to allow the construction of over 3,000,000 square feet of new buildings.

State law does not allow a water service agency to provide water outside its defined service area unless LAFCO gives explicit approval. This law is designed to prevent service extensions that would overtax scarce water resources. The CWC, of course, thinks that this is exactly what is being proposed in this case, but so far, LAFCO has not agreed.

LAFCO does have a policy that says that no extension of water service should be allowed unless the water agency has an “adequate, reliable, and sustainable” water supply. Since the City is trying to build a $100‑million dollar plus desalination plant, to provide adequate water for its system, it’s pretty hard to see how the City’s system meets those tests. Most of the discussion this morning will likely focus on whether there is any “condition” that LAFCO can impose that can adequately address this inconsistency between reality and the LAFCO policy.

More Information:

Gary Patton’s Blog: Two Worlds

LAFCO Website

LAFCO Agendas

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