The Source: Garney Failure Could Mean SAWS Takeover Of Vista Ridge Project
In a turn-about San Antonio Water System CEO Robert Puente said the water utility would take over the construction of the Vista Ridge Water Pipeline if Garney was unable to meet certain deadlines.
In May, after the Spanish conglomerate Abengoa went bankrupt, the Kansas City-based firm Garney Construction took over the building of the 142-mile water pipeline known as Vista Ridge.
The $3 billion project calls for water to start flowing from Burleson County by the year 2020.
Speaking on TPR’s The Source on Thursday SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente said that Garney still needs to meet an important deadline.
“We have to have a situation where Garney has their financing in place to start building the project and they have until May of next year. If they don’t do it by then – then we, SAWS, can take over the project at no cost to us; we just start where they left off.”
Since the start of Vista Ridge, SAWS has insisted that the contract would shield the utility and rate-payers from the financial risk of this controversial project. Now Puente says SAWS could take over the entire development which would include all the risk exposure. But Puente says that’s not a problem because SAWS is an expert in this area.
“We, SAWS, are in the business of building pipelines. We are probably the biggest construction firm in San Antonio regarding pipelines. So, we do this day in and out. So, it’s not a type of business that we are not familiar with.”
Also still undetermined is who will operate the pipeline after it is built. Puente has said in the past that SAWS is not interested in that responsibility.
- Robert Puente, president and CEO of San Antonio Water System
- Jim Smyle, independent consultant in natural resources management and board member of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance