24 February 2009

San Diego's Water Purchases

San Diego is looking north for water this year, working out a number of smaller option agreements with Sacramento Valley Districts. I looked into one 10,000 AF transfer with South Feather Water and Power to get a handle on numbers for this year.

San Diego is paying $10 per acre-foot for the option to buy water at $240 per acre-foot from South Feather's reservoir. They are then on the hook for a portion (up to $50) of lost power generation if PG&E is negatively impacted. This water must make it though the delta, and so San Diego assumes a 20% carriage loss, on top of an additional 3% SWP loss to get the water over the Tehachapis. Forgetting the PG&E penalty, the price per delivered acre-foot is near $325.

Because San Diego doesn't own the delivery infrastructure, it must pay MWD to wheel the water from the delta to its service area. MWD charges a lot. According to Dan Hentschke, MWD currently charges around $348 per acre-foot, $180 of which is the estimate for the power component. This pushes up the total price to $673, near the top of what MWD charges its member agencies for treated water.

Bottom Line: There is a more efficient way to deal with scarcity, but this transfer indicates that a more efficient way is still far away.


J said...

Still cheaper than desalination

Ray Walker said...

$673 present worthed at even 2% (should probably be 1%) results in a present worth of $33,650 per acre foot if it were for sale.

Maybe a million acre feet of non-tributary fresh water has some value after all ....

WaterSource waterrdw@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

it gets to be pretty expensive if mwd goes into shortage mode. then mwd reduces san diegos allocation by the amount they buy from the north, making it a lot of expense for little or no extra water