Quantification of Public Benefits

When we talk about beneficiary pays, just which beneficiaries are we talking about?

DWR staff came up with five main categories of public benefit plus a couple more and submitted them to the Commission, which must define public benefits of dams and conveyance under the Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010, which hasn’t passed yet and may not.

  • An SWP water contractor may receive water supply benefits from a new facility.
  • An SWP contractor may receive water quality benefits from a new facility.
  • Water quality improvement may reduce treatment costs to a local municipal water supplier (a private entity).
  • Water quality improvement may improve irrigation water quality to a group of private landowners.
  • Water quality improvement may improve ecosystem conditions for an endangered species (a benefit to the public at large).

Staff suggested that the Commission might also want to consider benefits that accrue to

  • An identifiable subgroup of Californians from whom costs may be recovered; and
  • Members of the public that are not Californians.

Somehow, all this is supposed to help the Commission allocate costs according to portions of benefits.  A subcommittee will be working on these matters throughout the summer and is scheduled to have an internal review draft report by September 15 and a final report by October 15.

Also this coming fall, the CWC will hold two California Water Storage Workshops, the first on September 14 and the second on a date in October that is TBA.

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