SAWS Trustees Save Ratepayer Money with Revisions to Controversial BexarMet Water Contract
On Tuesday, SAWS resolved one of the most troubling water supply contracts facing the former BexarMet ratepayers, approving a new contract for Trinity Aquifer water supplies.
|SAWS Trinity Aquifer storage tank (File Photo)|
One day after the dissolution of the Bexar Metropolitan Water District, SAWS halted water delivery from the Trinity Aquifer under a contract with the Water Exploration Company, Ltd (WECO). Both parties agreed to temporarily suspend the contract and renegotiate terms more favorable to the former BexarMet ratepayers.
Under the old agreement, BexarMet was committed to pay for up to 17,000 acre-feet of water, and crews struggled with water quality problems and limited production from the system. Additionally, BexarMet's ability to distribute the water was limited to approximately 5,000 acre-feet per year.
"This was a situation that seemed to provide an opportunity to secure a viable water supply, but the terms of the BexarMet contract were unacceptable," said SAWS President/CEO Robert R. Puente. "We now have a deal that benefits our ratepayers and the regional community."
After six months of negotiation, SAWS approved an all-new agreement with WECO. Newly negotiated terms include payment only for water delivered by WECO that meets all state and federal standards, and additional measures for protection of Trinity Aquifer levels. The new agreement saves former BexarMet ratepayers from significant cost escalation which would have required large rate increases in the future. Total costs are now projected to be comparable to the cost of other SAWS projects.
"BexarMet voters chose SAWS management for a number of reasons," said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. "They believed that the delivery of water would be better, that the cost would be more reasonable and that the professionalism would be higher.
"Today's approval of a new contract with WECO reflects all of those priniciples. We look forward to implementing this to the benefit of ratepayers."
Click here to view the full Express-News article concerning the WECO contract.
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