On Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., a public forum on Measure I was held at the Community Chambers in City Hall to provide community members with an opportunity to hear arguments for and against the measure, and pose their questions and concerns.
Due to a 2011 referendum, Measure I will allow Davis voters to vote on whether or not the city should move forward with a proposed regional surface-water supply project. The project is overseen by the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA), which was established in 2009.
The event was co-sponsored by Davis Media Access and the People’s Vanguard of Davis. According to founder and editor-in-chief David Greenwald, the Vanguard is a local, alternative online news source comprised of community blogs.
Greenwald said the purpose of the event was to enable community members to hear perspectives of proponents and opponents of the Measure I water project.
Arguing for Measure I were Mayor Joe Krovoza and Davis resident Alan E. Pryor. On the opposition were former city council member Sue Greenwald and CSU Sacramento economics professor Mark Siegler. UC Davis hydrology professor and hydro-geologist Graham Fogg was also present to serve as a neutral technical expert.
During the first hour of the two-hour forum, each side was given three minutes to make an opening statement. For the rest of the first hour, the discussion went back and forth between each side. Each side had two minutes to explain their stance on Measure I and address any topics brought up by the other side.
During the second hour, forum attendees had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the measure, which were written on index cards and relayed to the forum speakers by Greenwald.
According to the WDCWA website, the project would divert up to 45,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Sacramento River via a jointly owned and operated water intake. Pipelines will be built to transport water to a newly constructed water treatment plant, with additional pipelines transporting the treated water to Woodland, Davis and UC Davis.
“It’s time to get to a sustainable system — both environmentally and physically,” Krovoza said during the forum.
The cost of the project is estimated at $245 million and would be funded primarily by customer water rates.
The cost was reduced from the previous 2009 estimate of $325 million through the work of the city’s Water Advisory Committee (WAC), appointed in 2009.
Issues addressed by both sides of the issue at the forum included the costs of the project, the current state of regional deep water aquifers and whether the project is truly necessary.
“We should never go to ballot until we decide if the city can afford this or not,” Sue Greenwald said.
Voting on Measure I will take place during a special election to be held on March 5. Davis Media Access will be broadcasting the forum at a later date on their website as well as their local access channel.
MEREDITH STURMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.