The Pleasanton City Council will revisit the subject of potable water and the city's regional efforts to study water supply alternatives at its Tuesday night online meeting, starting 7 p.m.
In November, the council asked city staff to make recommendations on continuing "to participate with regional agencies on studies of water supply alternatives including potable reuse and $300,000 in funding from the city's Capital Improvement program."
The city has participated in numerous water policy roundtables and meetings of the Tri-Valley Water Liaison Committee -- which includes Pleasanton along with the cities of Dublin, Livermore, and San Ramon, as well as Zone 7 Water Agency, Danville San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) and others -- since the 2014 water drought.
In July 2019, the committee supported further study of a regional potable reuse project. Pleasanton, Livermore, Zone 7 and DSRSD representatives supported joint funding for such efforts, while private investor-owned utility Cal Water "may later become a partner in sharing the costs of further studies," according to staff.
To date, Zone 7, DSRSD and Livermore have entered a task order for $250,000 each and sharing costs of the studies. Pleasanton and Cal Water have yet to enter a task order to participate in funding.
City spokesperson Cindy Chin told the Weekly that staff "is not recommending to discontinue participation in further potable reuse studies," but did provide an option for council’s consideration that eliminates the city’s continued participation in water supply studies that include potable reuse.
If council chooses the option to discontinue participation, the $300,000 could be used for the treatment of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are manmade chemicals that are found in common household solutions or items like paint.
"The city is already pursuing PFAS treatment with its current PFAS Treatment and Wells 5, 6, and 8 Rehabilitation Project," Chin said. "If the council returns the $300,000 budgeted for associated potable reuse studies to the Water Enterprise, that funding could be used towards the next phase of the PFAS treatment project, which will be design and construction."
Chin added, "The city is still undergoing a financial analysis to determine the cost of a PFAS treatment project and how it will be funded and is looking into low-interest loans, grants, bonds, and other funding options."
Staff is recommending the council authorize the city "to continue additional technical investigation of potable reuse technologies and further evaluate how potable reuse improves regional water supply reliability compared to other supply options."
Should the city council decide to continue evaluating potable reuse, conceptual next steps and costs would be discussed at a water liaison committee meeting this summer.
In other business
* The council will consider a resolution on the consent agenda on Tuesday that, if adopted, would express the city's "support for actions to further strengthen local democracy, authority, and control as related to local zoning and housing issues," as well as for the California Cities For Local Control Coalition's (CCLC) advocacy efforts at the state level.
In August, the council backed a number of legislative frameworks, rejecting a number of statewide housing bills that staff argued would eliminate local review and discretion and hurt local tax revenue if passed.
CCLC formed in Southern California around the same time; since then the group has been "seeking out allies for possible legal action against the state and/or to promote efforts for a ballot initiative to legislate the desired results."
Items on the consent agenda are usually routine in nature and voted on in one motion, but former council member Becky Dennis implored the council to reconsider in a Feb. 1 letter.
"California's worsening homelessness crisis, exacerbated by some cities' resistance to accommodating affordable workforce housing, has not improved the prospects for the defense of 'local control' through the initiative process or in the courts," Dennis said, adding that CCLC "cannot proceed without substantial funding."
"Given the expense of fielding initiatives and the inevitable litigation that would follow, it is hardly surprising that CCLC would love to recruit Pleasanton," Dennis said, noting the last U.S. Census found the city was the wealthiest of its size in the country.
Dennis added, "More than the potential expense, any association with CCLC's efforts may uniquely damage Pleasanton's ability to get through the next Housing Element update while maximally preserving our local planning options."
Formally adopting CCLC's position also "undercuts our own staff efforts," Dennis said. "It publicly positions Pleasanton as an outlier, hostile to addressing the statewide housing prices, and actively seeking to avoid providing housing for our city's growing workforce."
* Pleasanton's all-abilities playground master plan will "focus on the necessary components for a successful all-abilities playground at Ken Mercer Sports Park," according to a staff report that includes a recommendation for the council to approve a $105,335 contract with San Leandro-based RRM Design Group on Tuesday.
Over three years ago, Pleasanton residents first approached the city and shared their need for a local all-abilities playground. The Parks and Recreation Commission made it their top priority last year, and in September the council unanimously voted to begin the design process.
Nine design firms later submitted a statement of qualifications, and the top four firms were invited for a panel interview with city staff. Based on the interviews, reference checks and ratings of the statements of qualifications, staff recommended awarding the contract to RRM Design.