The Santa Clara Valley Water District provides wholesale water supply, flood protection and stream stewardship for the Silicon Valley covering 1300 square miles and serving nearly 2 million residents. About 45% of the District’s water supplies are locally sourced, mainly groundwater; about 40% of the District’s supplies from both the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project; and the remaining 15% is from the Hetch Hetchy System.
So with 40% of Santa Clara’s supplies being conveyed through the Delta, whether or not to sign on to the California Water Fix is an important decision that will be coming before the board. The District staff are working to set up a series of meetings to inform the board prior to a vote on the project which will likely be near the end of September.
At the July 11th meeting of the Board of Directors, Imported Water Manager Cindy Kao updated the board members on the California Water Fix. The California Water Fix is the state’s proposal to improve the water supply reliability of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project and improve the Delta ecosystem. Its main feature is a pair of tunnels that will convey water from the north Delta to the existing pumping plants in the South Delta. “It’s basically an alternate pathway to move water around the Delta or in this case under it, as opposed as to through the Delta channels,” she said. “And it would be operated in conjunction with the existing through-Delta approach. The new pathway would be resilient to earthquakes and salt water intrusion from sea level rise, and it would provide flexibility to allow operations to be done in a way that’s more protection of fish.”
“The Delta is a critically weak link in the infrastructure for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project and the California Water Fix as envisioned would shore up that link and improve the overall reliability of the project,” she continued. “Our County relies on State Water Project and Central Valley Project supplies to meet on average 40% of its water supply needs. For our County, we are evaluating the Cal Water Fix for its ability to protect the long-term water supply reliability of our imported supplies and enhance our investments in other projects like new storage.”
The state is moving forward with securing regulatory approvals for the project; it is arguably among the most highly regulated and closely scrutinized projects in America, she said. The biological opinions that are required under the federal Endangered Species Act were released on June 26. The federal fish agencies assessed that the project would not jeopardize threatened and endangered fish species nor would it adversely affect or modify critical habitat, Ms. Kao said. The 2081 permit is the California Endangered Species Act version of approvals; it will be released in the next couple of weeks.
The final version of the Environmental Impact Report and the Environmental Impact Statement was released at the end of last year. The ROD/NOD is expected to come out in the next couple of weeks, Ms. Kao said. The Notice of Determination (or NOD) is the state’s decision on compliance with CEQA; the Record of Decision (or ROD) is the federal version of that.
The state’s Notice of Determination is expected to come out in a couple of weeks; the federal Record of Decision however will be delayed as Reclamation will be bringing its new administration up to speed and working out some additional issues; discussions are ongoing about a number of key aspects of the project, she noted. They will have more information in the coming months.
Staff is studying the proposal to determine whether or not it protects the economic viability of the County, whether the District’s State Water Project and Central Valley Project contracts and existing supplies are protected, whether costs are allocated equitably, and whether the participating contractors who pay for the project will receive the benefits. One of the aspects that they would like to see is that non-participants are not harmed but do not receive benefits that they do not pay for.
With respect to the design, construction oversight, and management for the construction of the Delta tunnels, they’re looking at proposals for whether the structure will result in cost effective and timely construction of the tunnels, and whether those who actually bear the financial burden, the water contractors who are paying significant costs for this project, will have some control over those costs, and flexibility in contracting to make sure the project moves forward cost effectively.
For funding and financing, staff will be evaluating proposals for whether costs are equitably allocated, whether the financing structure is affordable and results in a manageable liability; they will be evaluating the proposal for the ability to protect the district from unacceptable costs shifting to the District if others default or leave the project.
There’s an adaptive management agreement that is being developed; this is important because the operational criteria for the project will likely change, therefore modifying the yield of the project in the future and the changes are likely to be done through an adaptive management framework. Staff is evaluating this agreement to ensure that the decision making roles are clearly defined and that the participating agencies that are paying for the project and have a stake in ensuring that the Delta ecosystem is sustainable will have a seat at the table. They’re also looking to ensure the program is adequately funded.
NEXT STEPS FOR SANTA CLARA VALLEY WATER DISTRICT
The next presentation on the California Water Fix will be on August 22. Staff will bring an analysis of the No Action case and what would happen to the County’s water supply reliability if the status quo continues and no action is taken. They’ll also have more details on the design and construction of the project.
On September 12, they will bring a detailed and comprehensive analysis of potential water supply reliability benefits from the Water Fix; and hopefully enough information to talk in detail about the cost allocation and water allocation approaches, and financing and funding mechanisms.
On September 26, the staff will bring a recommendation to the board and request a decision on participation in the project.
These dates are still somewhat fluid as there are some schedule conflicts for directors. Board members feel it is important that all of them fully participate in the upcoming meetings and in the final vote.
FOLLOW UP FROM MAY MEETING
On May 25, Board members raised questions on the ability to opt in, opt out, and to purchase more than the District’s estimated SWP and CVP share. Ms. Kao gave a high-level perspective: “ On the CVP side, there is an opt in approach that we’re discussing. On the SWP side, the construct now is that all of the south of Delta water service contractors are in the project and if a contractor does not want to be, they would enter into an agreement with another State Water Project contractor who wants to take on that additional cost and have that additional water supply reliability. It does look like there will be, through these approaches, the opportunity to purchase more California Water Fix water from both the CVP and SWP side. The opportunities on the state side might be more limited, because it looks like the majority of contractors might be supportive on the state side.”
Also at the May meeting, there as a question about the relationship of the South Bay Aqueduct to the California Water Fix. A member of the public raised the point that it’s very important to ensure the reliability of the South Bay Aqueduct, which is the facility which conveys our State Water Project supplies to our county from the Delta. That facility needs to be rehabilitated, and he suggested linking the two projects. “The two projects are definitely separate; the Water Fix is progressing on its own path. But staff does agree that ensuring the reliability of the South Bay Aqueduct is of critical importance. The Water Fix can potentially improve the ability to move our State Water Project supplies across the Delta, but to get the water from the Delta to our county on the state side, we need the South Bay Aqueduct. Staff has worked with the Department of Water Resources and other South Bay Aqueduct contractors on plans to shore up the reliability of the SBA and we will continue to prioritize those efforts moving forward.”
Director Linda Le Zotte asks how it will work for non-participants.
Cindy Kao answered, “Non-participants would like assurance that their water rights, their contract rights for securing water supplies from the Central Valley Project or the State Water Project will not be diminished; they want to assure that their water supply reliability into the future will not be reduced, and so it’s tricky. There are discussions on how to go about constructing a framework that can provide for that on the CVP side and the SWP side.”
Director Le Zotte asks, “So if you’re a non participant and you don’t participate in the construction of the tunnels, what would you’re not being harmed be … ?”
“The discussions are still in flux but currently the concept is that the project will be integrated with the existing State Water Project and Central Valley Project operations,” replied Ms. Kao. “The project operators would be able to forecast and project what the water supply would have been without the tunnels. They do that now on various aspects of the project: ‘if this didn’t happen, this would be the water supply,’ so those that are not participating, this particularly pertains to the CVP side, those that are not participating would receive a water supply consistent with what they would have gotten without the tunnels. And then those who do pay for the tunnels would get the additional incremental water supply. That’s how it’s currently being envisioned.”
“But I thought no one was getting more water,” said Director Le Zotte. “I thought the tunnels were not going to increase the amount of water people were getting; it was only supposed to enhance reliability.”
“The modeling is showing that the tunnels will maintain our existing level of supply,” explained Ms. Kao. “Without the tunnels, the projections are showing that the water supply would decrease, so those that are not participating will receive less water than they are getting today, and those that are participating will roughly maintain the existing level.”
“That is going to be tricky,” agrees Director LeZotte.
Director Tony Estremara says he has the same question. “We have heard consistently that the tunnels will not create more water; and if there’s no tunnels, there’s going to be less water available, so what the tunnels would do is at least assure the present supply. And for those folks who are not involved, they are going to realize the shortfall.”
“That’s what the model projections are showing,” said Ms. Kao.
“Do we know how big that shortfall is?” he asks.
“It’s roughly 1 MAF for both the SWP and the CVP, overall, for both projects,” said Ms. Kao.
“So depending on what percentage you get from that, it’s how you could tell how much you could lose if you don’t participate in the tunnels,” says Director Estremara.
“That’s how it’s currently envisioned,” said Ms. Kao. “Now I do want to be totally transparent here that the modeling is a long-term model. It looks at a monthly time step. There are opportunities to capture storm flows during high flow events; the tunnels could capture some surplus flows and that would be on top of what we get today, so that could be an incremental supply that’s not captured in the long-term modeling, but that’s not quantifiable. That’s basically what we anticipate as another benefit of the tunnels.”
“If we didn’t do anything because of keeping water for the fish and other things, we would be getting less water, correct?,” asks Director Gary Kremen. “If all happens, it keeps us with the status quo. If we don’t do anything, we’ll have less but this keeps us with the status quo.”
“That is what the available information seems to indicate,” said Ms. Kao.
“If other people opt out and we buy their interest or somehow convey their interests, we could somehow end up in a better position than we are,” said Director Kremen. “Is that still potentially possible?”
“It still is potentially possible,” said Ms. Kao.
“So obviously it is very complicated for people to receive water diminished by some sort of projected amount, so I just want to make sure that I understand,” said Director Barbara Keegan. “So when we look at our record of water deliveries over the last 20 or 30 years, it’s been going down in time, is that correct?”
Ms. Kao agrees.
“So our supposition is that there is a trend and that trend is going to continue, the environmental protections, the health of the Delta and all of these things are going to continue to force that trend line down,” says Director Keegan. “In terms of the agencies that are not choosing to participate, are we considering static analysis? In other words, are we looking at where the deliveries are as of right now, and that’s where the different would be considered, or are we considering the fact that their supplies would be going down in the future anyway, just by virtue of new regulations or things like that?”
“Staff will be providing a lot more information and detail on our analysis of the future,” said Ms. Kao. “On September 12, we’re planning to bring back a more detailed and thorough discussion of the water supply impacts, how to look at the baseline, how the costs and water allocations will play out, and by that time, a lot more, the negotiations will have developed by that point where we can speak with a little more confidence about what the proposal is.”
“I think the devil is going to be in the details here,” said Director Keegan. “I would hate to see certain water agencies that are choosing to participate pay more than their fair share in the future, given where we see the trends and deliveries from the Delta under the current scenario are, so I look forward to seeing that presentation.”
“In answer to Director Estremera’s question that over the years we’ve been receiving and will continue to receive less water without the tunnels, is that an aggregate? Is that because of the 5 year drought? Or is that all blamed on regulations?” asked Director Le Zotte.
“The trend is over about 20 years or so,” responded Ms. Kao. “It’s a long-term trend. From 20 years in the past to today, we’ve seen a decreasing trend, even beyond that, maybe 30 years, so there’s been a decreasing trend and looking forward, looking at the state of what our regulatory regime is like and the state of the species, we don’t see any indication that the trend will change at this point. But we’ll bring back more information on this at a future board meeting.”
“You say that participating contractors receive benefits. Besides any incremental increase in supply, what other benefits are we talking about?” asks Director Estremera.
“The Water Fix is anticipated to provide resiliency against earthquakes, something we have brought to the Board before, this risk of multiple levee failure events in the event of an earthquake or major flood, which can cut off supplies from the Delta for 6 to 18 months,” said Ms. Kao. “The Water Fix will prevent that interruption, so that’s a benefit. The Water Fix is going to be designed to be resilient to the effects of sea water intrusion from sea level rise, that’s another benefit. Currently it’s difficult to transfer water when the State Water Project is about 50% or higher; the Water Fix will mitigate that, we’ll be able to move and transfer water at higher allocations, and the Water Fix also works synergistically with storage, so it enhances the benefits of storage projects as well.”
Director Estremera countered, “Even if you don’t invest, you get those benefits, don’t you?”
“There are discussions on how to craft this so that the participants will receive the benefits and those that don’t pay do not receive the benefits,” said Ms. Kao. “The discussions are still ongoing; it’s fairly complex, and we’ll be bringing back more information on how this can be done. It is a little tricky; there are proposals out there that seem like they are going to work. We just have to work on the details over the next few months.”
“We have contracts for a certain amount of water, and I think that runs till 2028 or something like that,” said Director Santos. “How do we get less water? We’re paying for a certain amount and we’re going to continue getting that because we signed the contract, and so whatever happens, happens. The State still has to supply us with that consistent water. And the federal government as well.”
“Our water supply contracts don’t promise us a consistent amount of water,” said Ms. Kao. “What they do is promise a maximum amount of water. It’s called a contract amount, so our CVP contract provides for us to receive up to a 152,500 acre-feet; and our State Water Project provides for up to 100,000 acre-feet, but both contracts state clearly that if there isn’t enough water in the system, then we won’t get that amount.”
“But it would be equal for everybody,” said Director Santos. “Just because somebody buys somebody out, it doesn’t mean that they can get more than us. It has to be consistent. Even if it’s less, it’s less for everybody, not just for us. I’m trying to understand this, and I’m probably a little confused.”
“For instance, on the Central Valley Project side, there are water service contractors and the allocation for the water service contractors differ, depending on their access to water,” explained Ms. Kao. “The north of Delta contractors typically have much higher allocations, usually 100% of their contract amount, whereas south of Delta contractors have been getting much lower allocations. I think you’re aware the ag water service contractors have received 0% during the drought for multiple years; we have had very low allocations as well. That’s because the water was unable to get to us across the Delta because of that Delta bottleneck. The water fix will help unplug that bottleneck to some degree, and that should increase the allocation for us.”
“But the amount of water that comes to Santa Clara County will be the same,” said Director Santos. “It won’t be less, irregardless … I’m just saying legally we signed a contract. Whether they say it’s 1 MAF or whatever, we’re still going to be getting a certain amount of water here that we paid for.”
“If we take no action, then under the water supply contract, our delivered water, our allocated water can go down, depending upon what the regulatory criteria are in the future and what the state of the Delta is,” said Ms. Kao. “So the contract is a legal contract, but the provisions in the contract provide for variations in the quantity of water delivered to us, based on Reclamation’s estimate of how much is available and how much they can actually deliver. Same thing with the state side. There is no guaranteed quantity.”
“That doesn’t allow another agency to go buy water that someone else doesn’t pay for,” said Director Santos. “You’re saying this allows for a water grab?”
“I would not describe it as a water grab,” said Ms. Kao. “The contract does not say that an agency cannot invest in infrastructure to improve the conveyance of water to them under their contract. Just like Contra Costa Water District, north of Delta water agencies, East Bay MUD, they build facilities that can augment the ability to move the water to them under their contract and their water allocations reflect that increased ability to convey water.”
“It’s still confusing to me,” said Director Santos. “I still don’t understand. If we keep our contract, we’re going to get a certain amount of water no matter what. Whether it’s the tunnels or whether it’s not the tunnels. Then you say at the same time … that another agency could come in if someone drops out and purchase a bit of water and that would give them more. I just don’t understand that.”
“I think what Ms. Kao is saying is that although there is a maximum that’s addressed in our contract, we by no means guaranteed that maximum or a consistent amount every single year,” said Interim Executive Officer Norma Camacho. “It really depends on what regulatory issues and what types of impacts diversions may cause in the Delta. So in some years, we’ve gotten a 0% allocation, and I think that we will be concentrating and focusing on this issue at our next meeting because one thing that we haven’t done is to look at a baseline case of what happens if there is no project, and we go and move forward and continue with the existing situation. So we’re going to look at that, and that will explain what is the situation over the time if there isn’t an action taken, either by us or the state in trying to deal with the issues in the Delta.”
Director Gary Kremen asks for more information about adaptive management.
“There is scientific uncertainty as to how the fish are going to respond to the operations of the Water Fix,” replied Ms. Kao. “In moving forward, the project is going to incorporate the ability to modify operations in response to the Delta ecosystem and how it’s behaving with the system in place. And even through the construction period, new research and analysis will provide information as to how best the operate the project to minimize impacts to fish while making sure the water supply is reliable. So that kind of approach where you do research, you take measurements, you evaluate the impact of an action, you analyze that data, and use that data to adjust your actions moving forward – that’s called adaptive management. And so this adaptive management framework that is being contemplated here will set the stage for modifications in the project operations and therefore potential changes in the yield of the project.”
PUBLIC COMMENT HIGHLIGHTS
There were quite a few members of the public present to give their comments.
NORA KOVALESKI: “I am here as a Santa Clara Valley ratepayer to voice my concerns regarding item agenda 2.8A on California Water Fix. As you know, living in the Silicon Valley is an immense privilege, but it’s no secret that living here is financially burdensome, especially for low income families and millennials like me, who are relatively new to the workforce. … The tunnels are a multigenerational project that will impose potential bond interests and cost overrun debt well over the $16 billion cost figure, not only on my generation, but those that follow in the next 30 years. Increasing ratepayer’s taxes and fees to fund a infrastructure project like the tunnels will only increase the mass exodus of millennials from the Bay Area and our local economy will greatly suffer because of it … “
TIM STROSHANE: “I am Tim Stroshane, policy analyst with Restore the Delta. We applaud the Board’s ends policy that call for the District to have a reliable, clean water supply for its customers current and future generations. Water Code Section 85021 states that it is the policy of the state of California to reduce reliance on the Delta for California’s future water needs, using a number of no regrets water supply strategies that aim to increase local and regional self sufficiency and that are drought tolerant or resistant. This is a good approach to protecting the Delta, but it also may reflect our changing and unfolding reality in Central Valley rivers. The USGS found in 2012 that by modeling all facets of the physical changes that are expected for the Central Valley, late 21st century Sacramento River flows to the Delta will decrease by 34%, and other Central Valley rivers will decrease by similar percentages. The same study expects longer drought periods in the second half of this century and there will be fewer big gulps available from the Delta as a result, and more little sips as the decades pass. In September, you board is scheduled to decide whether the District will participate in California Water Fix. We at Restore the Delta ask that as part of deciding, you make a finding whether or not the project is consistent with the state mandate to reduce Delta reliance. Water Fix is contrary to this policy and a bad deal for future generations because of its cost and its harms to the entire Delta region. The Water Fix tunnels are likely to become a stranded asset.”
LAURA BOYD: “My name is Laura Boyd, and I’m here to speak on behalf of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s support for Water Fix. The Leadership Group was founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett Packard, and represents nearly 400 companies that collectively provide 1 in every 3 private sector jobs in Santa Clara County. And contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy. The Leadership Group respectfully requests that the Board support the Water Fix when it is time to vote on the project. Nearly 2 million water users in the South Bay rely on drinking water that comes from the Sierra snowpack. The wide distribution system that delivers the water through the Delta is inadequate, outdated, and at risk of collapse in a major earthquake or flood. Furthermore, this outdated system’s use of unnatural river flows is harmful to native fish populations and the Delta environment. The Water Fix achieves the coequal goals of protecting the environment while also securing water supplies for the homes and businesses that rely on this vital resource. The quality of life and the economic prosperity of our region depends on a secure water supply. There is no viable plan B. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group urges the Board to support the Water Fix at the appropriate time.”
PETER JONES: “In 1984, I founded a group that became Straight Line Editorial Development. In our 28 years in business, we worked on more than 800 K12 textbooks, teacher’s guides, practice books and interactive digital materials. … With the proposed Delta tunnels, you do not have good information. I’ve read your staff report. It includes many DWR and California Natural Resource Agency assertions that were shown to be inaccurate or misleading long ago. I would like to offer some better information. True or false common assertions about California Water Fix. This 6 page paper is my best effort to synthesize information from more than 1000 articles and studies published over the past 10 years. The statements in it have been checked by Bob Wright with Friends of the River. … About creating tools for the future. How do the Delta water tunnels square up with that? Not very well. The tunnels are a throwback to 1960s technology with a likely 12 figure price tag after interest charges and overruns. For a board representing residents and companies so successful in creating innovative data driven solutions, supporting Cal Water Fix does not seem to make sense. There are better ways to go.”
JENNIFER DE LA CRUZ: “I represent the Silicon Valley Organization, the rebranding of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, and we represent more than 1400 businesses and 300,000 employees throughout the Silicon Valley area, and our members are made up of small businesses to the largest employers of the Valley. I’m here to voice our strong support for the Water Fix project. We believe a reliable water supply is non-negotiable for our businesses and communities … “
LES KISHLER: 50 year resident in the Water District. “For many years, I backpacked in the high Sierra and the headwaters area of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. … There are two good reasons why the Santa Clara Valley Water District should not support the mega tunnels. One reason is the tunnels are a threat to the health of the Bay and Delta ecosystems. The other reason is the costs, which will run into the billions of dollars.”
KATYA IRVIN, Sierra Club: “ … Many of the groups who are against the project as proposed would support a smaller project, so the all or nothing basis for this discussion is not productive. You could build smaller tunnels, that might be supported. … “
BOB WALLACE: “ … What bothers me is who profits from this. I’d like you to investigate that. The one’s who will make bucks out of this is agri-business … “
HUNTER REED: “I’m a resident of Campbell, I’m a member of San Jose Flycasters, and I work on the ponds in Los Gatos and so forth. I also work with the Clean Creeks Coalition … We get our water presently, 40% of it, from the Delta and so forth, and we’d like to purchase the water rather than go in on this program of the oxymoronic California Water Fix. … We need to do way more investigation on this before we even consider voting on this thing. I vote no right now.”
MICHAEL FROST: “ … The Delta tunnels are on the Trump public private partnership infrastructure plan. How will that sit with the Santa Clara Valley ratepayers if you jump on to this bandwagon? … If we want to talk about how great and how reliable the State Water Project is, let’s take a hard look at the Oroville Dam spillway. The Delta is the weak link? Tell me more about the reliability of the State Water Project. I want to hear all about it. I’m all ears. … “
JOSUE GARCIA: “I am the CEO for the Building and Trades Council. … We are here lending our support for this project, and when the time comes, we hope that you can vote for it … “
JOAN BUCHANON: “I represented about 2/3rds of the primary zone of the Delta when I was in the legislature. I’m currently president of Restore the Delta. … If you take a look at the CWF’s website, it’s very clearly stated on the website, they don’t expect it to produce any more water. So then the question becomes reliability. … The other thing that governs how much water you’re getting frankly are the water rights that you have, and there’s nothing in the California Water Fix that takes water rights away from one entity and gives it to another, so I personally don’t see how you’re going to get any more water. If it doesn’t change water rights, if it’s not going to change the amount that it snows, if you have global warming that says you’re going to get 33 to 35% less snow in the Sierra, where is that additional water going to come from? … “
DAVE OLSON: “My bottom line is that I just don’t think we know enough as to what we’re going to get if we invest in the tunnels, and so I think we need to find out before we can even pretend to decide … To me, the tunnels don’t make sense. It seems way too complex and risky. It’d be a lot better to have more local control over our water supply and not have to deal with all the headaches we get from the state government and the whole tunnel project … “
And public comment was thus ended.
DIRECTORS WRAP IT UP
Director Barbara Keegan thanks audience for taking the time to come today to speak. “Obviously this is a difficult decision that we’re facing. We’re going to be having a number more of public meetings and I encourage you and others to show up at those so we have the benefit of your input as we undertake this complicated decision. This board has had a long-standing interest in diversifying our water portfolio, so we are looking at many things, including a very aggressive and robust water recycling program. We’re very interested in pursuing that so that could be a drought-proof supply of water for our community now and in the future. So the Delta decision is just one decision amongst many that we’re going to be making about our water portfolio.”
“Sometimes I hear comments from the public that suggest we should be focusing on lower cost solutions in terms of our water supply and I think that for many of us, including myself, when we look at that big dollar figure, it seems like the Water Fix is a very expensive project,” continued Director Keegan. “I think it’s important moving forward, making our decisions that we really are comparing things on a rational sort of basis in terms of looking at what’s the cost per acre-foot of the different water supply options that we’re taking a look at. That’s not to say we should always be going with the lower cost option; I think what we want to see is a very diversified portfolio, but I think it’s important that people have the facts available to them so they understand what is the cost of recycled water, what is the cost of stormwater capture, etc. because those will factor into the decision making process that we undergo.”
“I still think we have some legal issues that I’d like to try to understand,” said Director Santos. “Maybe legal counsel can provide that for the next meeting. I still don’t understand how another water district can buy more water and so on when the State of California owns it. So that’s what I have to understand. If we’re allocated a certain amount, if we don’t participate or we do participate, how can another entity buy some? Kern County, or someone bellies up and doesn’t pay their portion, does it pass on to others? There are many legal issues I’d like to know about, because cost is always going to be an issue … “
Upcoming meetings for the board on the California Water Fix are currently scheduled for August 22. Sept 12th, and Sept 26th. These dates could possibly change.
Chair John Varela thanks the members of public for their attendance and their comments. “We are in this together. We all live here together, we’re all making these decisions together. Your voices are heard and have not fallen on deaf ears. We will be making those decisions together with you as our advisors. I work for you, and I’m going to make sure our Board does the same thing. We are listening to you, we’re involved with you, and thank you for your time.”