Statement of Don Peracchi, President of the Board of Directors for the Westlands Water District Regarding the California WaterFix Presentation
The text below is from the July 17, 2017 Special Board Meeting transcription
“I have a quick comment to make before we get started here today and before I turn the meeting over to staff for presentations on the California WaterFix, I want everyone present to understand, Westlands Water District has not decided whether the District will participate in the project. The decision will be made by the Board of Directors, based on its judgment concerning the feasibility of the project. In making that judgment, the Board of Directors will consider many factors, including projected water supply produced by the project, the cost of the project, the marginal cost of water supply produced by the project and the likelihood that the project will be completed successfully. This is a monumental decision that the Board of Directors takes very seriously, and the Board of Directors looks forward to receiving input from farmers within the District.
I make this statement because I’ve heard from District landowners that District staff has committed the District to participate in the project and it will bankrupt the District. That statement is false. District staff has not committed the District to participate in the project. District staff has been actively involved in discussions concerning the California WaterFix. But in all those discussions, staff has followed direction from the Board and was guided by the fundamental position, stated repeatedly by the Board of Directors, that the District will not obligate itself and the farmers it serves to billions of dollars in debt without reasonable assurances that the project will restore an adequate, reliable, and affordable water supply.
The purpose of this special meeting is to receive information regarding projected water supply and financing of this project and provide adequate time for comprehensive discussions by Directors and the public on these topics. Before the Board makes a decision on this project, there will be additional special meetings and grower workshops to review issues related to the project, but no decision has been made and no decision to participate in the project will be made until the Board of Directors is satisfied this project is in the long-term best interests of the District.
At this time, I would like to turn the meeting back to staff for its presentation. Thank you for your attention. I want to assure you all this Board of family and generational farmers will dedicate itself to make decisions that will be in the best interest of all members of our community. Thank you very much for your time.”