3 years, $600,000+ taxpayer funding, NO intention of final report?

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By Murray Lloydtoo-bored-to-do-nothing-too-lazy-to-do-anything

Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” – David Hanna

So, what happens when all of our institutions are designed to do nothing?

Rarely do we get to witness the absolute ineffectiveness of all levels of government to address the most basic needs of our community – water.

Safe-Water-To-DrinkIn the three years since this emergency situation has been declared, not one government, economic, civic, or academic institution in this community has held a single meeting to address solving this crisis.

No elected official has even proposed a “next step” to be taken to avoid the same damage and hurt happening once again when, not if, we cycle into the next drought.

The most glaring example is the Caddo Parish Commission Regional Water/Utility Master Plan study.

Three years ago, in the middle of the last drought, with water wells in south Caddo Parish going dry, causing one of the world’s most foreseeable emergencies, the Caddo Parish Commission’s Natural Resources Committee made the decision to do absolutely nothing. Instead, they hired the Shaw Group to do a study. They agreed to use $400,000.00 of Caddo Parish taxpayer’s money and even got Bossier Parish to kick in $200,000.00 of Bossier Parish taxpayer’s money. WATER-EMERGENCY-DECLARED

This was going to be a Regional study, with the “region” being Caddo and Bossier Parish; well, all of Bossier Parish except for the area and population of Bossier City and all of Caddo Parish except for the area and population of the City of Shreveport. Neither of the major municipalities participated in this “regional” study.

Before the study got started, folks tried to point out to the Caddo Parish Commission that everyone has known for years that the only viable solution to the drinking water problems in southern Shreveport, southern Caddo Parish, and even southern Bossier Parish is to build a water treatment plant on the Red River.

The study identified potential “districts” for Caddo Parish. After much technical analysis, they proposed three districts:

  • Caddo Parish north of Shreveport;

  • Shreveport; and

  • Caddo Parish south of Shreveport.

One can see now why this study took so much longer than anticipated. [Phase VI report (14.6MB)]

The study also identified potential surface drinking water sources. In what I assume was an attempt to not embarrass the Commission by pointing out that the Red River was the only reliable source, they included Toledo Bend in the south and Caddo Lake in the north. They might just as well have included the Gulf of Mexico on the south and Lake Michigan on the north, since these have essentially the same chance of providing a viable source of drinking water for this area.

$600,000 justification?
$600,000 justification?

So, here we are after our “leaders” have squandered three years and $600,000.00 with no more useful information than we had before we started.

What do we have? Nothing. The Caddo Parish Commission isn’t even going to issue a final report.

But it gets worse – now it appears they are wasting more time waiting for some “international” company to tell them how to find a private company to pay for the inadequate treatment plant they have planned.

And then, I suppose, after they have been re-elected, they will waste some more of our money and wait some more.

I’m sorry, but somebody else is going to have to come up with a “next step” that they think these guys can handle. It was bad enough that they couldn’t handle implementing a dog park. These guys can’t even manage their own games of Kick-the-Can.

When Good Men Do NothingYou see why I keep repeating that Pogo Was Right?

 

EMAILS REGARDING COMPLETION OF REPORT

 

from:
Ken Ward,
Project Manager
Public Works/Engineering
Parish of Caddo

Mr. Couvillion,

All your points are very well taken and in line with the results of the study we have been completing. All the information you suggest are provided in the phases. The costs as you discuss are off a bit as we know in Phase VI of the study. The plant and infrastructure will be about half that you mention. We do not envision closing systems down, just providing treated surface water to those systems at a rate that is not much more than they pay now to produce water. This can substitute their current production or in most cases be the primary source while their old wells can provide the required back up. We have met with all systems and know who is willing to do what. As we know that a water purchase agreement from the City is required to give the water quantity to make it feasible. We do not envision this project to be a City/Parish project. It is a Caddo/Bossier Parish project with the City just purchasing water as in all other systems.

I trust this assists you. If you have further questions, I suggest coming to see me and we can discuss in greater detail.

Have a great day and enjoyable weekend.

Always,

Ken Ward

Project Manager

Public Works/Engineering

Parish of Caddo

318-226-6932

 

From: James Couvillion
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 5:42 PM
To: Ward, Ken
Cc: Wilson, Woody; Murray Lloyd; Linn, Matthew; Jim Smith; Lucky, Randy; Glass, Robert; Weaver, Tim
Subject: Re: FW: Caddo Parish Regional Water/Utility District Master Plan

Ken,

The plan is to supply existing public supply systems in South Caddo I understand from your writing.  How many systems are there in South Caddo and how much annual gallons do they supply to customers? Please advise on the approach planned to make existing public supply systems find that joining is in their short term interest both from the stand point of amount of available water from a new plant and cost per gallon compared to their existing cost. As I see it, the existing systems have made the investment and it was paid for by homeowner members. Unless they are convinced that their public supply system is going to run out of water, what is the incentive to pay MORE for water from a new parish owned water system

I would feel better if there was a city agreement to furnish city customers that reside in Southeast Shreveport. I suggest that a new plant may have a cost of $150,000,000.  If we knew the amount of gallons used by the public supply systems we could quickly determine the amount of gallons  needed to be supplied to the city customers in that area to make the system pay out if that is possible.

I would suggest that the parish find out how much per gallon existing public supply systems are charging and determine how much a gallon of water from the new plant will cost homeowners.

I have no evidence that the city and parish can even decide in the future to work on any common interest project together and I don’t want the parish to take on more than they can chew. The city debt soon will be high when they finish selling the 175 million dollars of bonds for water and sewer.  They, when finished, will have solved the water/sewer distribution issues, and still will have not a clue about future water plant needs and mainly how to finance such with so much debt.

Jimmy

 On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM,
Ward, Ken <
kward@caddo.org>
wrote:

Mr. Couvillion,

I am sorry to respond so late, I have been out enjoying the summer with my family.  I hope you are well and have been enjoying the summer as well.

I am not sure what you are looking for other than a status of our Regional Water Study.  We have  completed six and half phases of the study.  Currently, we do not have any contracts with CB&I (formally Shaw) to complete because of the lack of need due to the information gained to date, at this time.  No reason to keep spending money to get a final report that the results of Phase VI provides.  We are capable of finding funding sources and options to do what we need to do.  We are currently awaiting a proposal for a private public partnership to a new plant and distribution to the existing systems in the south part of the parish.  We are also visiting with possible Mayor candidates to gain support for future water buying.  The system will payout better with the City on board.  The next couple of months will provide big steps to the project.

Outside of that, the community outreach to the affected areas has not stopped.  We just completed a project to get another 1 million gallons of ground water per month to surface water and working on another possible 50 million gallons per month to surface.  Efforts are going well and more will be added.

DNR has lifted restrictions but has kept in place for future problems.  All monitoring wells have increased to pre-dry levels and hopefully keep trending upward.

As for gas exploration, the state has limited the permits for ground water, but we know that is only as good as enforcement.  We do not have the authority to enforce water, that is the State.  But we are requesting the water source, including State permits for ground water, during permitting and encourage the use of surface water.  The Parish works hard to assist them permitting the surface pipelines for surface water.  Our enforcement watches as close as well can and can inform the State of any issues.

Overall, the Parish is in a better place to handle future possible dry spells as well as gas exploration.

I trust this answers your concerns, should you have others, please let me know.

 

Respectfully,

Ken Ward
Project Manager
Public Works/Engineering
Parish of Caddo
318-226-6932

From: James Couvillion
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 1:29 PM
To: Ward, Ken; Wilson, Woody
Cc: Murray Lloyd; Linn, Matthew; Jim Smith
Subject: Fwd: FW: Caddo Parish Regional Water/Utility District Master Plan

Ken,

This is the Shaw Study. While there was a public meeting in Bossier on this project, it was booth visitations and no public comments or questions.  That is what I was told because I didn’t go because of my negative position on lack of purpose.  The final report beyond the construction of a new Water Plant on The Red River and the failure to complete a plan for distribution and the lack of even a meeting with our public supply operators says it all. Short term we have no groundwater problems.  Ask Louisiana DNR.  All the restrictions on water use in Caddo Parish have been removed.

If possible can the parish administration at least say that nothing is coming on on this project? When the start drilling more gas wells next year, my estimate, we still have no groundwater plan to prevent its use for fracking of such wells.  Surface wall will be used to some extent.

A reply is requested.

 

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