Home and commercial developers looking to build in Clovis will pay more for water under a plan adopted by city council members Monday.
The new charge will help defray $35 million in costs the city will incur to secure additional water supplies from the Fresno Irrigation District, needed to support Clovis’ future growth.
Water Deal Made Last Year
Last year, the Clovis City Council entered into a long-term contract to increase its municipal water supply. Now, the city has a plan to pay for it.
The council voted unanimously to allow a new fee to be charged to developers for future projects. How much to charge and which projects will be required to pay the fee is set to be finalized on March 16.
As part of the $35 million water deal, FID will provide up to 7,000 acre feet of water annually for 25 years. One acre foot of water is about 326,000 gallons. An average household uses a half to one acre-foot of water a year.
The city will directly fund $5 million of the cost — due in September — through its Water Enterprise fund. The remainder will come from fees paid by developers – from $1 million to $1.5 million per year over the life of the agreement.
“The need for the additional water supply is directly tied to land development that creates the demand for additional water supply,” according to the city’s staff report. “The impact fee will be used to acquire new water resources for land developed at intensities and water use demands that exceed any available water allocation.”
The agreement also increases Clovis’ current share of FID’s water supply from 6.42% to 7.12%. That translates to an additional 4,500 acre feet in an average water delivery year.
How to Spread Allocation of New Water
The city council considered two options for charging developers for the extra water allotment.
The first method spreads the extra water costs to all future developers evenly; the second would charge a lower initial rate and a higher rate for later development projects. City staff recommended option number one.
“The advantage is there is no have-nots so to speak. The first thousand acres, would have the same cost as the next thousand,” city engineer Mike Harrison said. “It is consistent pricing and an even playing field.”
For residential projects, the city estimates that developers will pay an additional $1,300 per home to build a new medium-density neighborhood.
“We have a new way of receiving water from FID. The water has a price tag that needs to be paid for,” Harrison said.
Six Months of Negotiation
Harrison said the city discussed the best way to spread out the new water and charge the fees with about 100 different stakeholders — developers, industry leaders, and large landowners. Talks took place over six months.
Mike Prandini, president of the Building Industry Association Fresno/Madera chapter, says those talks have gone well.
“We have no objection to establishing the fee. We have been in discussion with the staff and I think we have agreement on the amount and when it will be implemented,” Prandini said.
Once the fee amount is established, Prandini expects it will be added on to the price of each new home in Clovis.