With a revised agreement made public Tuesday, Modesto Irrigation District and the City and County of San Francisco are looking to move forward on a long-term water transfer next month.
MID released the updated agreement late Tuesday afternoon, posting the contract on the district website and announcing the MID Board of Directors will consider approving the agreement at a July 24 meeting.
Most of the major provisions of the water sale remain the same. San Francisco will purchase 2,240 acre-feet of water at $700 per acre-foot, about 100 times the amount paid by most MID customers, with annual increases.
The agreement would last 20 years, though MID is also expected to move forward on a full environmental study for a larger agreement totaling up to 25,000 acre-feet. A common measurement for volumes of water, an acre-foot is the amount of water it would take to cover one acre a foot deep.
The updated agreement does include some new provisions, including one that allows changes to the agreement if new regulations affect either party’s benefits. It also includes provisions that assign liability to each party depending on circumstances and addresses concerns raised by the city of Modesto over delivery issues, MID spokeswoman Melissa Williams said.
Williams said the updated agreement also defines a review process of the sale that would occur every 10 years.
Revenues from the sale are expected to go toward financing $115 million in infrastructure improvements identified as necessary by the districts and prevent a stiff rate increase. Those infrastructure improvements are expected to lead to more water in the MID canal system, according to the district.
Both MID and San Francisco pull their water from the Tuolumne River — San Francisco from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and MID from Don Pedro. MID representatives have said improvements to their system will make it more efficient, freeing up the water. However, environmental and agricultural interests are both wary of the sale.
The agreement has seen multiple delays in recent months. MID announced earlier this month that it would hold off a June vote while parties continued to negotiate.
In April, San Francisco pushed it back after a letter from the Tuolumne River Trust to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission criticized the transfer. The organization is seeking a separate environmental review for this water sale
MID and SFPUC representatives say a review on the initial transfer is not necessary, but is covered under an environmental review conducted in 2008 for San Francisco water system improvements.
MID posted on its website a memo from San Francisco officials outlining why they believe the 2008 review is valid.