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Mountain View sells water to East Palo Alto

Original post made on May 24, 2017

The Mountain View City Council signed a $5 million deal Tuesday night to sell off water rights to East Palo Alto to help end the city's yearlong moratorium on development.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 10:18 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Carla
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 24, 2017 at 11:06 am

Aren't we in the process of building 10,000 new housing units?

Posted by fantasy land
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I thought the report I read stated that Mountain View was expected to hit its cap on water use in 2040. It was unclear what the population projection number was used for that that 2040 water cap projection, and whether that number is inclusive of daytime population growth (businesses). However, while 2040 is the technically "decades" away, it is also just 23 years away.

Mountain View just sold off water rights forever for a one time payment of $5MM.

Ridiculously shortsighted.

Posted by Joey
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Curious how much a water desalination plant would cost, the city is literally next to the bay.

Posted by Diablo
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 24, 2017 at 2:34 pm

one time payment of $5M for 1M gal/day! Seems like an incredible bargain for EPA, and especially for the developers who will be funding it. And when/if we run out of water in our own development-happy community, we are going to feel awfully stupid and start looking at who to blame. I can almost hear the future city council debates ...

Posted by Kal Sandhu
a resident of Castro City
on May 24, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Although it was a nice thing to do, this was very shortsighted by the city council. The city should have kept the rights but allowed East Palo Alto to use the water for x number of years for a lesser amount of money. We will need the water in the future as Mountain View grows. But now we have given the rights away for $5 million!!!

Posted by in like flint
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Is this clean Hetch-Hetchy water or TCE-laced well water that the city doesn't want its own residents to drink?

Posted by Oh brother, can we be bought!
a resident of North Whisman
on May 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Well, thus aughtta be good. Mt. View seriously needs a moratorium on building. Now that we're giving away our water, maybe we'll have a reason now, when we run out if water, to stop our insane development.

Trading one stupidity for another.

Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Selling city infrastructure for a one-time payment is not in the best interests of the City of Mountain View. Was any study done to determine the actual market value of the water rights? How was $5 million determined to be a fair price? Let me guess -- it's the price EPA offered! And dumb Mountain View City Council accepted, without negotiation, study, counter-offer, etc. They should just put a "For Sale" sign outside of City Hall, if you want it and Mountain View has it, then make and offer and it's yours! Next on the agenda we'll sell Cuesta Park to Los Altos, and Shoreline Lake to Google.

Posted by Lynda Meyer
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Sadly while East Palo Alto is enjoying the lovely Hetch Hetchy water we in Waverly Park are using the VERY HARD and frankly disgusting California Water Company well water. Thank you city council.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm

@Lynda Meyer

It's for the kids

Posted by Leslie M
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm

This should NOT have been for perpetuity. Perhaps 10 years and reassess at that time as to whether to renew. As the developer of the Bay Road Campus in EPA also does development in MV I would hope all is in order that there was no conflicts or inappropriate lobbying.

Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Well Mountain View is crazy about ultra high density to please for some reason the developers. I see this Ridiculously shortsighted move as hasting the day for water rationing in Mountain View. We need to throw out the current City council and get new people with a sense of prospecting.

Posted by Good decision
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm

This seems like a good decision.

Mtn view sold an asset that was costing $500,000/year, Which means the positive benefit to the city includes the annual savings of $500k.

This allows development to occur in a city that is not mtn view. I would think that the slow growth people and the people who don't like all the traffic will like that.

Posted by MC
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 24, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Let me see if I understand this correctly . . . EPA's need for Mountain View water is so they CAN CONTINUE BUILDING A 1.4 MILLION SQUARE FOOT OFFICE COMPLEX AND A ZUCKERBERG FUNDED PRIVATE SCHOOL????? Yes. the caps were intentional. Apparently the residents of EPA don't need the water, just the businesses!

The suggestion by Leslie M above is an excellent one. It is increasingly obvious the city council has little common sense and very few negotiating skills. There is no way that giving away this much water, after experiencing the previous several years draught, makes any sense. Throw in the building boom and exploding population in Mountain View and we will very soon have a water crisis of our own in Mountain View.

Posted by @mc
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 25, 2017 at 12:11 am

So you prefer that those developments happen in mountain view?

Posted by Don't Sell
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 25, 2017 at 8:18 am

East Palo Alto 15 years ago asked others to give it water rights based on "social justice" because of their lack of planning and maintenance.

The Mountain View City Council has made a colossal mistake and those who voted for this should be voted out of office - this is ridiculous what this Council has done! Hopefully the decision can be reversed before it becomes final.

Posted by So sad
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 25, 2017 at 10:24 am

It's a sham that the City Council voted for this. No thought on all the buildings coming in and needing water. McAlister was the only one opposed this plan. Everyone else should be called out for selling out.

Posted by Free rain water
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

When Mountain View run out of water, they will be welcome to get all the water they'll need from our Bay !

Posted by Mt. View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on May 26, 2017 at 12:47 am

Just realized, this comes as our neighborhood appears to be having water quality problems that often occur with low water levels. My laundry had a bunch of weird brown spots last week. Others posted similar problems on another forum. Selling off our water supply is criminal.

Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 28, 2017 at 12:01 am

I don't understand the current city council we have in City Hall. They seem to be bought by developers and lack any common sense or concern for the residents of Mountain View. Look around all the crazy buildings going up around town and now selling permanent water right for a mere $5mil! This city council needs to be voted out as soon as possible!!

Besides, is it right for a mere 6 people to decide this for the 70+K residents of Mountain View, shouldn't the city council have asked the residents for their opinions before deciding?!

Posted by Huh?
a resident of North Whisman
on May 29, 2017 at 9:00 pm

I'm not sure what to think of our city officials. Are they on crack? Are the corrupt, foolish, stupid? There's just NO WAY to rationalize giving away the water of .Mountain View residents. That's what this is. Giving away our water, when we aren't in much better shape than EPA, with our massive overdevelopment without proper environmental impact studies.

The giving away our water, when we already don't have enough is just another INSANE move at giving away Mountain Biew's public assets. This is so far beyond sick, it's pretty unbelievable.

This is so far from the way Mountain View operated when I first moved here. Absolutely irresponsible dissolution of public assets in so many ways. Do people know that the shoreline Google development is actually a nature preserve? Why isn't the city grabbing up land to make parks and preserves rather than skyscrapers and concrete? Who's pockets are our officials in?

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on May 31, 2017 at 11:44 am

psr is a registered user.

@MV Resident

None of us should be surprised by this short-sighted and foolish move by the city council. Sell our water, yet continue to build. We should also not be surprised when this same city council tells us our water bills will double or triple because we have to continue to build to meet their ABAG quotas and we don't have the infrastructure to support the new residents.

I won't be surprised at all. Both Pat Showalter and Ken Rosenberg have shown that they are willing to say whatever it takes to get voted into office, then do whatever they like once they get there. Remember the two of them saying they would vote against handing over a lane of the El Camino to the VTA, then voting to give them that control be cause their views had "evolved"?

My views have evolved too. This city council crew thinks they know better what the citizens want than the citizens do. We need to hold them to account. They all need to go if they can't do the job they were elected to do, which is to serve the people of MOUNTAIN VIEW, not East Palo Alto or anywhere else. Any decision this encompassing should be VOTED on by the people who pay the bills, not a group of social engineers.

a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:23 am

A back room deal with billionaire developers....disgusted. kudos to John McCalister for being the only NO vote

'Many of those big-ticket developers agreed to pitch in money to help facilitate the water transfer agreement, according to an East Palo Alto staff report. In exchange, those projects will reportedly receive priority on any new water connections that become available'

Irreversible and ONLY 5M? Who brokered this deal and what is their connection?

Posted by Water is like gold
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:52 am

Can't believe the council did this. How many children will die of thirst? How many pets will die of dehydration? How many people will starve to death because they will not have enough water to feed their fruit trees and vegetables? How many cars will look dirty because of a lack of water to clean them. This is horrible.

Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by The details
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2017 at 10:40 am

The report prepared by city staff shows that in a "high growth" scenario Mountain View is projected to hit it's cap on water use in 2037/2038...if water rights are transferred to East Palo Alto. The report also states, it has not incorporated "the impacts of an active conservation program or the recently adopted requirement for dual-plumbing recycled water use. Specific factors that are likely to reduce the high growth consumption projections"

"The resulting population supported is 93,330 under the General Plan scenario and 135,080 under the High Growth scenario. Employment supported is 99,655 under General Plan scenario and 111,322 under the High Growth scenario. These are compared to a 2015 population of 75,430 and employment of 80,817."

In short, if the city's growth continues as per the general plan, then transferring 1MM gallons of water per day (in perpetuity) to East Palo Alto should not harm the residents of Mountain View over the long term - well past 2040 . However, if Mountain View's growth proceeds in a "high growth" scenario, for example massive development in North Bayshore both in terms of employment numbers and housing units, and/or massive housing development in the North Whisman area, then the city is projected to reach it's water cap in the 2037/2038 year, and then be left hoping that technology and conservation measures will keep Mountain View from existing in a perpetual water emergency going forward. And, I suppose all growth would then need to cease once the city hits that cap.

The city is going forward betting the come that lack growth and/or technological advances will save the residents from running out water before 2037/2038.

Posted by water like gold? Actually yes it is
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

@Water like Gold

Are you implying that this is a good idea, and there is no reason Mountain View residents should be concerned, despite the fact that this is being pushed and subsidized by developers? It's a bad deal for Mountain View especially when you consider it is permanent and that the council is determined to build may more thousands of housing units.

Posted by Leemarie Michals
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Right after the council gave away 1 million gallons daily of our water we residents received a 7% increase in our water rates along with higher tier rates. Makes me wonder who is the city of mountain view working for certainty not the residents? I have lived here for 62 years and have seen various council members makes horrific decisions. This by far is one of the worst! Why was there no termination date set? VJAp1

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