An Analysis of Ventura’s Purposed Net Zero Water Fees



By Daniel Cormode

  1. Ventura Water is planning to schedule three meetings in the future to discuss the Water Rights and Net Zero program.
  2. The City of San Buenaventura A comparison of costs associated with the development of new water sources was developed using 2016-2022 and proposed 2018-2024 Capital Improvement Plan documents. 
  3. The following conclusions and observations resulted from the comparison and analysis of the Net Zero costs shown in Table 1:

The actual cost of new water based in the 2018-2024 CIP costs is calculated to be $78,060 per acre-foot and not $26,488 as contained in the Water Commission Potential Water Supply Sources Presentation dated December 2015.  Using discounted and underestimated costs in development of the Net Zero Fee results in a gift of public funds to developers by not charging actual costs. 

The estimated total cost of the new water projects has escalated from $248,577,000 in December 2015 to $538,458,316 in January 2018.

Estimated costs contained in the Capital Improvement Plans do not reflect the total cost of a project as they do not include financing costs.

The original December 2015 Net Zero cost estimate appears to be incomplete as it does not include all of the costs related to project as identified in the 2016-2022 CIP or proposed 2018-2024 CIP.

The Total Cost of the projects based on Sum of 2016-2022 CIP Project descriptions is estimated to be $450,746,100 which is 81% greater than total project costs of $248,577,000 identified in the Water Commission Net Zero Presentation of December 22, 2015.

The Total Cost of the projects based on Sum of 2018-2024 CIP Project descriptions is estimated to be $538,458,316 which is 19% greater than total project costs of $450,746,100 identified in the 2016-2022 Capital Improvement Plan.

Ventura Water Staff has indicated Foster Park Wellfield Yield amount is for protection of water rights.  Water rights to not yield wet water, therefore, The identification of the Ventura River/Foster Park Wellfield as a source of additional water is considered invalid.

It is requested that appropriate action be taken to assure all costs for new water are incorporated into the determination of Net Zero fees and are adjusted accordingly

An analysis was conducted in order to compare Net Zero fees collected annually using the original Net Zero fee of $26,449 per acre-foot and the real estimated value of $78,060 per acre-foot in order to estimate the annual loss of funds due to the reduced Net Zero fee rate.  The analysis revealed that for the years 2017-2034 the total fees collected would be $72,650,113 under the $26,449 per acre-foot fee and $214,415,208 with the water valued at $61,009.06 per acre-foot for a net loss of $141,765,095.  See Table 2.

Daniel Cormode is a Ventura resident and the Chairman of the Planning & Development Committee for The East Ventura Community Council. He  has dedicated his life to researching Ventura water issues.

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