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California company eyes Creedmoor-Maha territory

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham

The San Jose Water Company, a California-based company, is in “very, very, very preliminary discussions” with the Creedmoor-Maha Water Company about possibly taking over some of the area the co-op currently maintains in Northern Hays and southern Travis counties. Although San Jose Water Company officials denied the discussions, Creedmoor-Maha operator Charles Laws confirmed them. He characterized the talks as “getting more and more down to the line now.”

 

The San Jose Water Company (SJWC) is an investor-owned utility and is not run by a board elected by users, as is the co-op. Creedmoor-Maha has a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the state that enables them to operate within a designated boundary. Though the early-stage discussions have not yielded much firm information on which portion of this territory SJWC may be interested in, the area is roughly around I- 35, SH 1327 and SH 130, east of the interstate and south of Austin.

 

Tom Hodge runs the Canyon Lakes Water Company, which contracts their CCN with San Jose. Hodge told In Fact Daily, “We’ve looked at several other systems but nothing that has been agreed on.”

 

Laws said he was in talks with Southwest Water and SJWC and said the area under consideration was, “two small parts of our CCN.”  Laws said he has been meeting with San Jose, “about every two weeks.”

 

According to John Dupnik, a hydrologist with the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, the expected growth in that corridor may pose too much of a challenge for Creedmoor to serve all the citizens in that area.

 

The San Jose Water Company is also reportedly interested in conducting demonstrations of desalinization of brackish water in that area. Asked where the company currently plans on getting the water to serve those in the area, Dupnik responded, “that’s the big question.” He said SJWAC was “most interested in, looking at other options, seeing what the possibilities are.”

 

The Barton Springs district has been interested in aquifer storage, recovery and desalination for some time and Dupnik said both SJWC and the district are still gathering information about the feasibility of such options.

 

Still, the possibility of alternative methods of water supply may not be a reality for some time. “San Jose Water hasn’t really done all the economic analysis they need to do, and once that’s happened we can actually start talking about whether they want to open their checkbook and invest in a desalination plant or deep well,” said Dupnik.

 

A SJWC spokesman declined to comment on that aspect, though Hodge said such developments would be news to him. Laws, on the other hand said, “I think they’re working on that… it might work out good for all of us.” Asked for a timeline for a potential deal, Laws dodged specifics saying only, “We get more and more information as we go along here working out the final details.”

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