For Immediate Release April 29, 2019
Twenty-three Candidates Endorse Vista Ridge Resolution
Twenty-three candidates running for San Antonio Mayor and City Council on May 4th have reviewed the information and endorsed the Vista Ridge Resolution calling for clarification of “the policymaking role of San Antonio Water System, and its need for more openness and transparency; requiring an independent managerial, legal and financial review of the Vista Ridge Project.”
Candidates endorsing the resolution are as follows:
*Currently on the city council.
The resolution, drafted by the non-partisan non-profit 501c4 League of Independent Voters, is also endorsed by the Alamo Sierra Club, the Homeowner-Taxpayers Association of Bexar County, Joshua Initiative. LULAC Concilio Zapatista 4383 and San Antonio Making Bureaucracies Accountable (SAMBA). The drafters have been distributing this flier and gathering signatures on an informal petition also listed online at early poll sites stating:
“Vista Ridge, the $3.4B, 143-mile pipeline slated to begin conveying groundwater in 2020, poses a serious threat to reasonable water rates for SAWS ratepayers and sustainability of two critically important aquifers; the mighty Edwards (San Antonio’s drinking water) and the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer providing water for Burleson, Bastrop, Milam and Lee counties.”
James Murphy is one of the state’s top water attorneys and serves as an Advisory Board Member of LIV. Mr. Murphy is working at the legislature to stop SAWS lobbyists from making Vista Ridge the poster child for the state’s groundwater projects. Murphy said:
“Many people do not know that SAWS simply would not allow a smaller and more local project to even be discussed before the City Council as an alternative to this boondoggle. I am fully qualified to call Vista Ridge a boondoggle because I participated in the early stages of the project and abandoned it after realizing the huge risks to ratepayers and the ancient Simsboro, an aquifer that, unlike the Edwards, does not recharge in human terms. The risks that the Simsboro could be damaged and the city forced to stop this project are very real. SAWS ratepayers will then be left holding the bag for the most expensive groundwater in Texas.”
Ellen Berky, a San Antonio architect and Board Member for the League of Independent Voters, said:
“The League of Independent Voters warned the City its private partner was going bankrupt. We also urged that SAWS do a fully public deal with a loan from the Texas Water Development Board – for half the interest costs of using a private partner. We were ignored. All we know now is that we’ve seen water rate increases every year since 2013, largely on account of the Vista Ridge project, and the San Antonio Water System has been hiding project records behind their private partner. Very soon, the Mayor and City Council will be voting on significant utility fee and rate increases, just as the Vista Ridge water is slated to begin pumping in 2020. We want all the information on this project made public now.”
Stan Mitchell, retired, a Harvard MBA with relevant private sector experience, and a leader of San Antonio Making Bureaucracies Accountable, said,
“I attended a neighborhood meeting this week where SAWS gave a presentation on their 'integration pipeline.’ SAWS won’t even call the project by its name. It’s called Vista Ridge. Our public water utility has been absurdly opaque about the combined costs of this project, glossing over the price tag for moving massive amounts of water from Burleson to Bexar County, not to mention the total cost of integrating all this water into the SAWS existing distribution system within the San Antonio metro area. Why doesn’t the public already know the energy costs to convey 50,000 acre-feet (68 million tons of water) per year 143-miles to San Antonio for 30 years? The public deserves to know the Vista Ridge project’s total financial burden which will have to be absorbed through increased public utility billings in the coming years.”
This 1-minute video was also released likening the project to Goliath and urging the voters get together to hit the project in the “right spot,” like David.
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