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The Source: More Questions In SAWS Vista Ridge Deal

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Last night, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) held the first of four public meeting on the changes to the 142 -mile Vista Ridge Pipeline. The $3.4 billion deal, which covers 50,000 acre feet of water per year for 30 years, will have a change in ownership.

Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa, struggling to pay its debts, had to sell 80 percent of its position in the deal. Garney Construction, which has worked with SAWS on several projects, has been selected as the company that will step in. 

In its presentation, which you can find here, SAWS explained what steps come next in the project with Garney stepping in. The presentation, which TPR's Shelley Kofler covered here, didn't address the $885 million dollar loan that the project failed to get from the Texas Water Development Board. $885 million was the projected total cost of building the pipeline.

The project is led by the Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation, which is a nonprofit public-private partnership created specifically for the Vista Ridge Pipeline deal. This low-interest loan was described as a sort-of backup plan for the Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation by SAWS VP Donovan Burton in an Express-News article, who called it "another tool in the tool box.

How will the deal get financed now? Both selling-bonds, and obtaining a loan from a bank have both been talked about. 

Guests:

  • Jim Smyle, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance board member. Jim previously worked for the World Bank on international development projects dealing with water for 18 years.
  • Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance 
  • Lauren Ice, staff attorney at Save Our Springs. SOS currently has a lawsuit pending against the Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corp. to obtain planning, route and pumping station information.
  • Robert Puente, President and CEO of the San Antonio Water System
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive