Water is the basis for San Antonio’s prosperity. New water supplies will move the city forward for decades to come. This game-changing water project will provide the largest non-Edwards Aquifer supply in our city’s history.
This the opener to the Vista Ridge Pipeline Project—a new transfer scheme providing up to 50,000 acre-feet per year to San Antonio from the Carrizon Aquifer. That’s a 20% increase in supply capacity.
The scheme has been financed with a public-private partnership arrangement. A company named Vista Ridge has built the project. VR gets to operate the project and earn from it at a fixed price per unit for 30 years. The project is justified by the need to reduce pumping from the Edwards Aquifer during drought, which will allegedly protect endangered species. One wonders what the impacts on the Carrizon Aquifer might be.
There’s a complex risk-sharing arrangement in place. As I understand it, the risk from VR’s perspective is that San Antonio Water System (SAWS) fails to order water (which would happen if there are no droughts). On the other hand, if there are many droughts, SAWS will need to buy a lot of water at a high cost, and that will mean hevty increases to folks’ bills. I’d be facinated to see the hydrological modeing that went into this agreement.
It seems this project generated a bit of opposition. There was a dedicated website (novistaridge.org - now defunct) and hashtag #NoVistaRidge. The main grounds for opposition seemed to be cost.