Last week the San Antonio Water System trustees approved a deal to begin negotiations to pipe in 50,000 acre feet of water from the Bastrop area with the Vista Ridge Consortium.
The deal would increase the city's water supply by more than 20%. The cost per acre foot is expected to be more than twice that of Edwards Aquifer supplies and slightly more than that of the forthcoming desalinization plant.
The deal to pipe in water has been controversial due to concerns over the risk associated with the selected company's ability to deliver on what was paid for. In addition, early on there were concerns about taking water out of already drought-stricken areas like Uvalde County, which had a bidding company.
The plan to pipe in was not initially recommended by SAWS staff, who chose to focus on a desalinization plant, which recently broke ground. The business community opposed this single option approach, as did Mayor Julián Castro, and eventually SAWS began pursuing both.
SAWS says while the cost may be high now it will be locking in the cost today for decades to come.
Conservation advocates are arguing this deal could endanger conservation efforts and SAWS' own conservation programs.
- Robert Puente, president and CEO of the San Antonio Water System
*This is the first segment in the July 9 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM. Audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.