PID accepts study; district in ‘good shape’
Chico intertie proposal gets the lowest score
PARADISE » A Sacramento State study accepted by the Paradise Irrigation District on Wednesday night rates as its top option to remain solvent is to use its PG& E settlement money and any federal grants or reimbursements to maintain its solvency.
The Paradise Irrigation District board of directors on Wednesday accepted the options study conducted by Sacramento State University that has concluded that the district’s best option is to use its Pacific Gas and Electric settlement money, continue to pursue all reasonably available claims and reimbursements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, along with insurance claims and other grants and funding from the state in order to remain financially viable.
The study was part of a post- Camp Fire deal with the state — in return for funding, the district was obligated to look at its options as it relates to revenue generation for its future existence.
Mickey Rich, assistant district manager, said the report did not make any recommendations and the district does not have to take any immediate actions related to the report.
“The purpose of this study was, essentially, how does PID return to being financially viable, to be able to provide water for the town of Paradise?” Rich said. “Luckily for us, we did get the settlement. So we’re in good shape.”
The study referred to that top option as the Financial Claim Portfolio and it didn’t require any new construction and met PID’s “objectives of delivering safe and dependable water in a cost- effective manner, short- and long-term financial sustainability, and supporting community redevelopment.”
The average rating score that the financial plan portfolio received was a 2.6 out of a potential of 3.0.
According to the study, “The Financial Claims Portfolio has the highest score as this portfolio does not rely on any infrastructure projects and would leverage litigation and other funding sources to meet any PID deficits.”
The option that got the second highest rating from the study was selling water or the Water Transfer Portfolio because of the “limited infrastructure requirements and the ability to raise revenue from water transfers to help reduce potential deficits or water rate increases “
Rich said what made that portfolio score high in the study the fact that it can be done fairly quickly. But she also said that the study did not include comments from the board of directors, and selling water would not be the board’s first choice.
She also said that the district is in the middle of solidifying its water rights and turning them into a license.
“While it may have been feasible, it really was not practical for us to even consider right now because we’re in the middle of protecting our water rights,” she said.
The study asserted that over a 26 year period ending in 2045, the district could earn $21.9 million, at an average of $843,000 per year in water transfers.
One option that did not score high was the potential Chico intertie proposal or the Chico Intertie Portfolio that sends water to Chico.
“It didn’t score high because the criteria including time constraints,” Rich said. “In order for us to be financially viable solution we needed a fairly quick solution.”
The intertie, studied along with the Miocene Canal ( both scored a low of 1.6) were the two lowest rated options because “of the relatively high- cost projects with funding uncertainties, and the long implementation periods.”
The study estimated that both the an intertie with Chico and the proposed Paradise Sewer Project would take five to six years from design through construction to be completed. And the study predicted that neither project would begin within the next year or so and most of the options in this particular portfolio wouldn’t be finished until after 2028.
The study also noted that it assumed that the California Water Company would pay for the construction of the pipe to Chico and that it would not impact water rates for the current PID customers and would be paid for by Chico water users. Although the study also noted that PID would be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the pipeline at a cost that it could not determine at the time of the report.
In the evaluation of the Miocene Canal, the study noted that when it began PID was in discussions with the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over the potential of buying the canal from that company.
But the study revealed that starting in December of last year, PG&E entered into discussions with the Del Oro Water Company and is working with Luhdorff & Scalmanini Consulting Engineers to complete a feasibility study that was slated to be finished sometime this summer, evaluating the potential extension of Del Oro’s infrastructure to those who previously received water from the Miocene Canal.
The study reports that since those discussions between PG& E and Del Oro had begun, PID has ceased discussions with that company over the potential purchase of the canal.
One of the other options that was studied by the university was a potential reorganization into another entity. The two options were reorganized into town of Paradise (2.2 score) or into South Feather Water and Power Agency (1.7 score).
The study favored the town of Paradise option over the South Feather River Water and Power Agency.
“It would have scored higher in comparison with South Feather River because regionally it is just not close enough,” Rich said.
The study also said that in order for the town to absorb the PID “they would need to show excess General Fund of $3 million annually to sustain PID operations,” which the study noted the town did not have, unless the town was willing to allocate some of its PG&E settlement money in support this reorganization.
The study also said that the SFWPA would also have to to show an excess of $3 million annually in order to take on the PID, and this study showed that South Feather River has had a declining revenue since 2014 down to $1.5 million annually.
The opt ions were weighted on their technical feasibility (20%), economic feasibility (15%), financial feasibility ( 10%), regulatory feasibility (10%), environmental impacts (10%), legal feasibility (10%), stakeholder/public acceptance (15%) and implementation (10%).
Each each one of those feasibilities were given a score between one and three with one being the lowest.