Beaten, but undrained: Litigant says City gets its water... in 40 years

One man's water lawsuit against four local governments was tossed out of court Friday as a judge dismissed the case and, in a separate ruling, validated the lead defendant's request to issue millions of dollars in bonds– although the judge did grant the litigant's demand that no physical assets could be used as bond collateral.

"I think I'm a winner and a loser," says Stan Braverman after the May 18 hearing. "We lost the case, but there are certain aspects we won on."

A lawyer, Braverman sued Tom Frederick and the other government backers of the so-called Community Water Supply, a project that controversially brought in corporate boosters to tout a massive dam to replace all three existing urban reservoirs. Besides provoking an array of physical and political controversies, the legal controversy swirled around a 3-2 vote in January by City Council instead of the super-majority Braverman was demanding.

In his lawsuit, filed in March, Braverman alleged that City Council disingenuously portrayed its transfers of public property as leases to evade its own charter and the Virginia Constitution. If his nightmare scenario panned out, future generations of Charlottesvillians might be forced to come begging Albemarle County if they end up needing additional water.

"This is an argument right out of Kafka," scolded defense counsel Robert Hodges. "The Constitution understands the difference between a sale and a lease-hold; Mr. Braverman apparently does not."

Braverman, however, contended that the language in the transfer documents seemed chosen to avoid the Constitution's 40-year lease cap. But the term seemed like a point the judge could clarify on her own.

"These are leases," said Albemarle Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins, "and they are not in excess of 40 years."

Such findings from the bench, Braverman notes, mean that Charlottesvillians in the year 2052 can take their land– and, more importantly, their water rights– back. Braverman says Higgins gave him much of what he wanted, which seems to include the peace of mind from knowing that the City still owns 100 percent of reservoir lands including the Ragged Mountain Natural Area.

Peace might not be the operative word at Ragged Mountain for long because that area– a longtime bird sanctuary– will soon be disturbed by the sounds of dynamite and buzzsaws for what critics see as an unnecessary reservoir that requires the clearance of 150 acres, the removal of 54,000 trees, and convoys of trucks.

Still, Judge Higgins made a pair of factual rulings that Braverman lauds as crucial to the permanent record.

"The court cannot find that there is a sale," said Higgins. "The word 'lease' is consistently used. The language is clear and express."

While stopping short of conceding that his quest has ended, Braverman notes that any appeal might actually jeopardize such factual findings.

"By the implication of this decision," says Braverman, "the City can get its water back, and that's great."

But in a City that recently required the better part of a year– and the assistance of ground-penetrating electronics– to find its own historic time capsule, what's to say that anyone will remember Judge Higgins' findings 50 years from now?

"Get a certified copy," says Braverman. "It should be microfilmed."

After the hearing, Rivanna Authority director Tom Frederick pronounced himself pleased with the rulings and noted that North Carolina-based Thalle Construction, which won the right to proceed earlier this year, has already begun creating a mobilization area in Ragged Mountain and improving the access for its machinery along Reservoir Road.

If Braverman's volunteer quest ends with Higgins' ruling, it was not without some color. Activist Stratton Salidas was one of three citizens allowed to address the court.

Salidas took the opportunity to blast Mayor Satyendra Huja for brushing aside critics such as himself by wrongly asserting that Nestlé Waters had reneged on its million-dollar contribution to the Nature Conservancy to make the Charlottesville water plan a national model. (Both Nestlé and toilet-maker American Standard did follow through on their million-dollar promises, according to company reps; and Mayor Huja has apologized for his error.)

Salidas also noted that both a political action committee and the Nature Conservancy used the occasion of Charlottesville's last City Council elections to influence the process with "misinformation"-containing flyers.

"In fact," concluded Salidas, "there has been a great deal of mischief."

The judge decided to skip over the long-running debate.

"I look at the legality of the documents before me rather than looking at the underlying policy," said Higgins. "The documents are valid."

After the hearing, a reporter asked the other two citizens who spoke up if either was a spokesperson for City interests.

"The spokesperson for the City was supposed to be City Council," interjected Brian Irving, a baker who used his day off to attend the hearing. "But it didn't work out."


If Mr. Braverman is depending on anyone remembering the definition of the word lease in 40 years then his is a pyrrhic victory - the reporter is right, all he got is dust in the wind.

What a tragedy for our community and what a cost. To benefit the all ready well off and sock it to the average Joe. And the loss of a magnificent natural area at Ragged Mountain that will be destroyed along with 60,000+ trees - what kind of community are we that we would allow this to happen and never maintain the reservoir we have at South Fork for our water supply. Didn't we do enough damage to the environment 60 years ago when we built that and don't we have an obligation not to throw that away and do more ?

This is an excellent report of what actually transpired yesterday . I was there. II have followed this since 2007 and the only descent journalism about this vital community issue has come from Mr. Spencer and the Hook.

"This is an argument right out of Kafka," scolded defense counsel Robert Hodges

The only thing Kafkaesque about this is the way the RWSA had manipulated the community to build a dam we don't need at great expense to the public.

"the language in the transfer documents seemed chosen to avoid the Constitution's 40-year lease cap"

HOW NEFARIOUS!!! The transfer documents, as written, FOLLOWED THE LETTER OF THE LAW! This only proves how evil the people devising this water plan are!! The fact that these wrongdoers would purposefully do the right thing is evidence of their wrongdoing! Yep, nothing Kafkaseque about that argument....

I've followed the water issue since 2002, when the area was 90 days from having to truck in water. People that claim to be informed about this issue and ignore how imminent this disaster was because we did not have an adequate water supply are kidding themselves.

People can believe whatever they want. What is clear with this issue is that people that believe that this is all some evil plot completely discount the very real arguments in favor of the existing plan. The fact is that the plan will satisfy the areas water needs for several decades. This satisfaction was mandated by law and the local municipalities entered into an agreement to meet this legal requirement. We can't just hope for the best like we were prior to 2002.

Water is essential for carbon based life forms to exist. The City of Charlottesville was VERY close to running out of water within the last 10 years. Any government that would ignore this reality should be impeached.

There are real arguments against the existing plan and they were taken into account. There are also real arguments for the existing plan and they have won. Elected officials ratified this plan and now it's been ratified in court.

Yes, maybe even Judge Higgins is in on the conspiracy. Or maybe the opponents of the water plan have lost fair and square. Time to get over it and move on, kiddies....

In 1944 and 1957, City Councils purchased land to expand the City's public Oakwood Cemetery. Those officials knew that extra land would be needed because Maplewood, the only other public cemetery in the entire Charlottesville-Albemarle community, was already hemmed in by streets and residences. And they felt the need of taking that action because providing public burying ground had been an accepted responsibility and collective act of compassion since the early 19th century not just here but in every other civilized community.

But even though the two parcels acquired in '44 and '57 were shown as part of Oakwood on City Planning Department-generated maps in 1967 and 1972 and 1979 (projecting for 1990), those parcels were never opened for burials in the late '90s, when all available plots both in Maplewood and in the already opened portion of Oakwood had been sold.

Last year, when Councilors, prompted by cronies (i.e. Southern Development's Charlie Armstrong, former Mayor Blake Caravati, and Caravati-associate and former City Council candidate Brevy Cannon), suggested in closed-door City Hall session that the City give to them for building the parcels acquired in 1944 and 1957 for Oakwood expansion, Councilor Holly Edwards asked that the land be used to expand the cemetery but "got no support" (in Edwards' recent words).

Councilors Huja, Szakos, Norris, and Galvin -- aided by NDS Director Jim Tolbert's enthusiastic misrepresentations to the public, to the press, et al. -- sent their giveaway of Oakwood property through a blink-and-miss-it, pretend-like public process at warp speed earlier this year. And even after they were confronted with conclusive evidence that the land they were determined to give to Southern Development using Habitat for Humanity as a beard (a fine old term from criminal slang) had been acquired for Oakwood expansion -- indeed, even after they had grudgingly admitted that fact in their meeting of 7 May -- those same four Councilors voted to complete their reprehensible giveaway of the people's burying ground.

This Council has apologized for earlier Councils' razing of Vinegar Hil, pledged to learn from and apply the lessons from that, and appropriated money for a statue to honor those displaced by that action. At their 7 May meeting -- in which four current Councilors dissolved Charlottesville's almost 200-year provision of public cemeteries without ever even addressing the subject, much less involving the public in that decision -- Councilors expressed elaborate concern for the poor and also for African Americans. But none of that self-serving rhetoric, etc., inhibited Huja, Szakos, Norris, and Galvin from voting to give to Southern Development and its junior partner Habitat the Oakwood expansion parcels purchased in 1944 nd '57, parcels both needed and wanted by the public for at least a decade and especially needed and wanted by African American members of the public for whom it is especially "sacred ground."

All of which is to say that I'm very grateful to Mr. Braverman for fighting this highly flawed City government. And, for his sake, I'm very glad that he thinks he's won something. But in a community that has no collective memory and in which public officials feel not the slightest obligation whatsoever to honor the best decisions of their predecessors, I have to question his optimism. When the people in charge respect nothing and "honor" only what brings them gain, nothing is safe even for now, much less for the future.

@ meanwhile -Is this a joke ?

". The City of Charlottesville was VERY close to running out of water within the last 10 years. Any government that would ignore this reality should be impeached. "

@ meanwhile I guess you've been out of touch for awhile 

'Ballparking' RWSA: Record low water use and record high RFP?

By Hawes Spencer |
Published online 7:04pm Sunday Jun 26th, 2011 
and in print issue #1026 dated Thursday Jun 30th, 2011

New data show that the community is using one fifth less water than a decade ago. The latest figures show use of just 8.72 million gallons a day during first five months of 2011. That's 20 percent less than the 10.91 million gallons a day drawn during the first five months of 2001 and just 0.02 million more than the record low usage of 2009, which had a rainier-than-usual summer. So unless this summer goes back into a drought as it experienced last year, this could be a year for the record books– and a fitting irony for the launch of a public works project widely seen as unnecessary.

Here's the link if you want to read what a total boondoggle for ratepayers this is - and sure to get worse
Lower demand and more debt - recipe for ratepayer disaster

city resident + @meanwhile:

Having long since lost sight of who's being ironic, who's trying to report facts, who's just making noise, et al. vis-a-vis the future water supply, I would just note that an obligation to maintain the South Fork Reservoir was built into its creation but never performed.

So the situation with the water supply has always been analogous to the City refusing to perform for already owned City vehicles even the most basic maintenance -- oil changes, tire rotations, etc. -- then demanding great big, shiny new SUV's to replace the never-maintained vehicles (plus, of course, the junking of those never-maintained vehicles).

And no one ever seems to note that the deletion from the local ecosystem of many thousands of trees -- in the past, in the present, in the future -- means that a fair amount of water will never actually fall from the sky at all. And what does not fall, cannot be collected in anything -- not in modest old reservoirs, not in an obscenely expensive new reservoir.

And P.S. on burying ground: Even if the City does as Klueless Kristen suggested on 7 May purchase new burial space to replace already acquired new burial space just given away, it will not substitute for the public burial space purchased in 1944 and 1957 because it will not be in Oakwood. Sacred ground isn't fungible. One patch of graveyard dirt isn't the same as any other.

city resident, no it's not a joke. Were you living here in 2002? Simple question: yes or no.

If you were here then you must recall that we were 90 days from having to truck in water. If you were not here, then you are missing the context of this entire debate.

From the tenor of your comment asking whether or not I'm joking, I take it that you were not a resident of the City of Charlottesville in 2002. When did you move here?

I was here in 2002 and your statement is fear mongering and a complete falsification.
Kevin Lynch was on City Council and has documentation from RWSA to show that your claim holds no water .

To set the record straight

Demand and Conservation: 
How much water will we need in 2055

There is NOTHING more FUNDAMENTAL to the Community Water Supply Plan than an accurate DEMAND ANALYSIS. How much water will our community need in the future?

The current plan was sized according to a "Demand Analysis" that forecast how much water per day our community would need in 2055 (50 years.) RWSA consultants, Gannett Fleming (GF), who have since been fired, based their study on several assumptions which have since proven wrong. 
They used 30 years of data through 2001. However, starting in 2000, water use started to decline due to a number of sustainable conservation practices. It is now 25% below the projections the plan is based on.

Albemarle Water Resource Manager Greg Harper wrote an excellent analysis of demand in May 2008. Harper advocates a "soft path" to meet future needs over the "hard path" of concrete and steel. 
Given the faulty assumptions which led to faulty projections along with the decade-long trend in declining water use.... A NEW DEMAND ANALYSIS IS NEEDED!

"Our community is growing and we are using more water."
According to the Census Bureau, since 2000 our area has grown 12%, yet water use has DECLINED 20% in that same time period.

Despite population growth and increased hook-ups, we are using 28% less water than the Demand Analysis for the Community Water Supply Plan projected for 2008. In fact water use has been below projections EVERY YEAR since 2000. Water use continues to decline -- a downward trend in water consumption on its way to putting 2010 in the record books for the lowest water use in recent history. 
Water use peaked in 1999 and has been coming down ever since. Why? Because we have implemented permanent changes in our water usage.  Low flow showers, front loading washing machines, golf courses are off the system and car washes are mandated to use recycled water - among others. Welcome to the 21st century.

"The University of Virginia is planning to grow and will need more water "
While UVA is a major employer and influence in the Charlottesville area, it is NOT a major user of water. UVA uses about 15% of the water sold in the Urban Area and that has fallen in the last decade. 
UVA has been a leader in the conservation of water, reducing its per capita use by 30% from 1999 to 2006. Since that time, it has increased its square footage by xxxxx yet is still 20% below its peak use in 1999. .

@ meanwhile -this PowerPoint by Kevin Lynch demonstrates how wrong you are

-meanwhile, I was living in the area in 2002 and I know it was bad. I have no idea where you get the 90 day water trucking thing except making it up. There was 138 days of water at the then daily usage amounts. We use 20% less now, which means those days of water left increases. That means we can grow 20% before we hit water usage of 2002.

I think the real issue is not that you truly think we need the water, but that you just don't like the idea that some people stood up and challenged the status quo. Maybe you have friends who are developers and are filling your ears, or maybe you part of the original development, and you just think someone is piddling all over your post by putting the plan in the dust.

Kingdoms fall on the sort of irrational behaviour you are showing here. Unfortunately, the people living in this area have to suffer with you.

Caesonia, not making it up at all. I do not wish to divulge my identity. Thank you for acknowledging that we had 138 days of water left. Apparently you believe that governments should wait until the last possible moment before trucking in water?

The plan was to truck in water 90 days after the drought broke. Not making this up and I'm not "wrong" about it.

If you don't believe that this near disaster is precisely why the local municipal governments have embarked on the course of action that they have, then you are deluding yourselves.

Wishing for the best is not responsible behavior when faced with a possible catastrophe. Responsible public servants should and will act in the best interests of all the people, not merely pander to the emotional arguments of an irresponsible fringe group.

I was waiting for the call, had the cell phone
on traveling between Jackson Wy.and Santa Barbara homes.

Never lost a criminal case, and undefeated in civil cases since 1969.

What attorney loses ....And then calls it a victory ??

Riparian riights are a big deal out my way.
I would have made it a test case for water on your coast.

Give me a holler.....think I can win on appeal.

Out here in the cowboy state we think in
Take no prisoners .

307-733-5248 fax

Happy Trails
Jerry Spence

I like the way this has become a pissing contest on who lived here in 2002. Like this place was some kind of country village with a general store and a livery.

I also like the way the people can't understand simple math. I guess the City can stop handing out $100 toilet rebates. We certainly won't need them with all the water we're sure to have!

@meanwhile, I don't think anyone will disagree that the drought of 2002 spurred communities to study their water plans for the future. In fact, then Governor Warner mandated that communities come up with 30 - 50 year plans.

The problem with our current dam/pipeline plan is that it is based on out of date data that has since been updated to show that dredging our current South Fork Reservoir will provide all the water this community needs for many decades and most likely more than 50 years, given the data from the last decade of falling water use and updated information about the South Fork capacity and sedimentation rate . Please look at the graphs in Mr. Lynch's powerpoint that illustrate this point beautifully, so that anyone can understand it. In addition there are far cheaper and less damaging ways to provide additional water than destroying the Ragged Mt. Natural Area and it's irreplaceable magnificent hardwood forest if South Fork's capacity after dredging proved insufficient.

The fact that powerful special interests got their way does not mean that this decision is for the public good, in fact, I would argue just the opposite. It is the most discouraging decision I have witnessed in my 40 years living in this community and one I believe even many supporters will come to regret.

Mr. Lynch and 2 other Councilors ( Mr. Schilling and Ms. Hamilton), who voted on this plan in 2006, have publicly come out and said, that given what they know now, they would not have voted to support it.

I want to personally thank Mr. Braverman, the Sierra Club, the hundreds of citizens who signed petitions, attended public meetings, wrote letters and spoke to elected officials in an effort to bring about a less costly, less environmentally damaging water plan that would have provided all the water we would need for 50 years or more, and done what should have been done all along - maintained the South Fork Reservoir for water supply.

A special thanks goes to Dave Norris who crafted a plan that was dubbed " the Norris Plan " ( dredging South Fork and adding on to the original dam ) and advocated for new studies that showed the original dam at Ragged Mt. was not only safe, but could be raised, and a dredging study that proved that dredging South Fork was not only feasible, but far more economical than we had been told.

And lastly thanks to Hook editor, Hawes Spencer and the entire staff, who provided the one consistent voice to tell the people's story that otherwise would have gone undocumented and misunderstood, amid all the biases shown by some in other media. Let the Virginia Press Association Award they won in 2009, based on this story, for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service ( the highest statewide award ), stand as a testament to their outstanding reporting, and the service they provided and continue to provide to our community.

The 40 year lease may be forgotten, along with the 60,000 trees that will be destroyed, but this story will live on and we can only hope, remind future generations of the dedicated citizens who gave countless hours to try and provide a better long term water supply plan for people and the environment.

The problem from the start was control. The city owned all three reservoirs and the lease was to expire June 2012. The county did not want to come to the city to ask for water for development and have the city in control. This whole long affair was about control. The environmental community principally operates in the county and backed the county to gain their place at the table. Hence the unlikely alliance.

The county won big time. City folks just could not rise above the complaining stage and mount a legal challenge to any of the many procedural requirements. Then came the last election of City Councilors. The county leaders must have jumped for joy. The fix was in and the deal was done right there. Dede and Dave were completely ignored, run over, by the three stooges who received the county pac money. The poor city citizens got severely fleeced.

And the band played on as the Water Babies ignored creditable council and let Braverman leave his retirement from immigration and represent the community for free as their litigation attorney. Talk about taking a knife to a gunfight. Even the judge seemed a bit concerned. "Mr Braverman, what do you want me to do?"

Now the issue is settled for the next 40 years. The city has lost control of their major assets and if they build many more low cost housing units the city will have to buy water rights from the county. The economic base is leaving and the startups flee as soon as they get out from under the wing of the university. You can hear the drum beat. Tom Tom Tom Tom

In the end, after all the lies, false information, steamrolling and the like; the city got what they voted for in the election. Three Stooges in who will sell out the assets of the city, just for the power to do so. Lets hope that we do not have a drought during construction of the new monster reservoir. Let us pray that our masters at City Hall are not too hard on us slaves.

Charlottesville is "The Plantation again." Come get your rations while they last. The shack over there is for you. We will take care of you just vote for us and support our lives. Our meetings are secrete, but will will produce a public show for you.

There is no honor in these proceedings.

one does get weary reading betty's comment.

is there no end to the tired; self serving ; self aggrandizing
that is now trotted out like an ode; a eulogy for things that never were ?

so over the top that it belongs on SCTV sammy maudlin show.

does our community need a designated mourner for issues that
there was no political will for ?

does our community need a 'loyal opposition' that is ineffectual
and in essence serves as a useful prop; lacking any real substance?

Why do you-all keep harping on this? The city government recognized the unfairness of the situation and worked with the county to fix an unfair problem.

Brown, Huja, and Szakos worked with us to right a bad situation and they should be lauded, not pilloried. It is the county that drives economic growth in this region and the city that takes and spends money as it sees fit, often for ridiculous programs.

We couldn't allow that to reach its obvious conclusion in the future and potentially demolish the economic integrity of central Virginia. When you have a bunch of people whose greatest interest is relaxing marijuana laws it doesn't bode well for decision-making.

So, we have now taken it away from them and put it into responsible hands. Future generations will be thankful.

@ Oh Giveme a Break
Are you just trying to sound official, or are you actually a person of significance. In other words, who are you and what do you know?

No response from Oh Giveme a break. Whoever that is it is obvious that theft of city assets through manipulation of public office is the preferred course of action to an honest debate of the real issue.

How corrupt can you be? One thing is certain, eventually the truth comes out and so far we have received some evidence that Brown, Huja and Szakos were in fact working with the county to the detriment of the city. All because the county just did not want to pay for what they took through corruption of these nefarious public servants. Hey the Demand Analysis had substantial growth built in and we still had plenty of water. Just how big is Central Virginia really destined to become. SO steal it from us in the City and let the rest of Central Virginia profit for free.

Strong charges of public corruption but consider what they told you and how they treated our Councilors Norris and Smith. Oh we know most of the city people are beholden to the city for their food, shelter or job. So we vote for these guys and they screw us in return.

Spread the word at every opportunity.

Ms. Mooney, thank you for making a lucid, rational argument that is intermingled with your appeals to emotion and sympathy.

As you well know, there were numerous arguments in support of the current plan presented in the public city council session when the current plan was approved. I refer you to Mrs. Szakos and Mr. Huja's direct responses to your direct, public reproach of them.

Ultimately, the rationale was (and is) that this is an issue that we should deal with now, one time. Were we to go with the Norris plan, this entire debate would have to be reopened right as Mr. Norris reached retirement age. Kicking the can down the road and hoping for the best is precisely NOT what a responsible body of government should do.

Construction costs and interest rates are low now. They will most likely be higher in the future. Water is becoming a more and more scarce resource.

I ask you, what is stopping us from leasing water rights to the over abundance we will enjoy as a result of this plan?

There are many, many benefits to the current plan which are ignored and/or glossed over by those that only wish to oppose what will be done. It gets very tiring and it is pointless to bring them up.

Thank you, Ms. Mooney, for acknowledging those that fought a good fight in a lost cause. I hope you show just as much emotion when your direst predictions do not come true and then proceed to thank those that ignored your futile pleas.

slave of the democrats understands the real deal
Here in Jefferson country .

One league , only a couple of divisions , with some
Individual teams .

Chamber of Commerce division
Social Justice division.

Truth is some players play in both divisions
Grandfathered in I imagine.

Some teams just losing slower than others.

Both on a track to no where
Probably because the league doesn't realize
They play on leased tracks....

Sooner or later you have to pay to get more track built.
Thats something the players don't want to do.

Oh Gimme a Break,

What unfair situation were they rectifying? The City owned all the assets, had financed them and paid for them, and had shared FOR FREE the product of those assets with the County for the last 40 years. What is remotely unfair about that? The City was going to continue to share those assets with the County, free of charge for the next 40 years, while dredging. How was that unfair? What, because the County might not get to grab all the assets an apply it to their schemes FOR FREE? Is that unfair? Really?

Well, I have decided I want to take all the water from your well FOR FREE. I think you are treating me unfairly if you don't let me use FOR FREE all the water I want from your well for my drinking needs. Who cares if you paid for it, I demand you let me use it FOR FREE.

Tell me, what has the County ever given the City FOR FREE? Don't talk about revenue sharing either, because they expect the City to spend it on County projects all the time.

What's more, out of the consutrction of this new boondoogle, is the County sharing FOR FREE 40% of the water it has paid for? Nope. They expect the City to PAY. For water that the City shared with the County FOR FREE.

Stop talking about unfair. The only people getting the shaft here are the City residents.

And City Council (3 STOOGES) is giving the People of the city THE SHAFT.

Isnt that a shame Mrs Mooney!

which would cost more... trucking in a few tankers of water every twenty years or so when there is a drought or spending MILLIONS AND MILLIONS on a dam.....

They should have dredged...

the next time a small vocal minority
take their case to court may i recommend
"THINKING LIKE A LAWYER"by UVA law professor
Frederick Schauer.

that could be a big help.

Is it 54,000 trees or 60,000 trees? Can someone give me the math behind that?

It's all very sad. I have not been here long (only since 2004), and in the time that I've been here, the city and county elected officials seem to have become completely in the pocket of developers. It's always been bad, but it seems blatant now. People like Ken Boyd in the county and Huja, Szakos, and Brown in the city need to go.

RWSA had determined in 2002 additional local of water to augment the current water supply including one of the county's lakes. According to Mr. Frederick, executive director of RWSA, we will not be able to increase our storage for drought protection any more than we have today for at least another 20 years when we are scheduled to evaluate the actual construction of the pipeline unless we dredge before then. Even if we dredge before then RWSA will not include that additional storage capacity gained through dredging in our volume for drought protection. This last statement alone should indicate to any rational thinking person that something is crooked here. Personally, I think it would be hilarious if we have a severe drought within five years after the new dam is built and would love to read the comments of the "build-now" enthusiasts when they realize that they haven't won anything yet except bigger bills. In order to avoid burdensome rates, RWSA will not be able to start acquiring the land for the new pipeline until after the bonds are retired from building the dam. Now it has become a question of affordable rates and financing. Thank you CSWP for forcing this information out into the public discourse. I thank those responsible for the current lawsuit for getting RWSA to remove city-owned assets from its list of assets backing the u-coming bond issue. It may result in a higher cost for the bond issue but those who consider themselves the winners of this debate should not care about increased water costs to finance the next $31 million bond issue. I am sure Council will be glad to subsidize its residents with rebates large enough to cover the increase in their water bills. And, of course, the County won't.