Persistent Rumors: Goicoechea Water Bonanza
Answering requests from two of our most loyal readers, the Prospect has looked into the FACT that Dave Goicoechea, county supervisors, is getting TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS IN FREE WATER from the cogen plant. He should, we are told, excuse himself from voting on anything to do with SPI.
We had already heard the story of the water some months ago from Jim Turner, who operates the cogen plant. However, to be certain, we cornered Dave Goicoechea and confronted him.
We asked him if he’s getting ten grand in water.
“Well, on the candidate disclosure form it has a value that is “between two- and ten-thousand dollars. I checked it because the water might be worth a couple of thousand bucks to someone.”
I had previously asked Jim Turner who told me that, not only does the water not have a value to SPI, it has water quality issues that prevent them from simply putting it into Smithneck. They aren’t allowed to do that, so the next best thing is to spread it on agricultural land. If they couldn’t do that, they might be able to build and on-site pond, but it would mean the plant couldn’t run sometimes. The agricultural disposal is the best option.
The water is not pure, it might have some mineral accumulation. It is checked quarterly for water quality.
“But,” I challenged Goicoechea, “you do use the water, don’t you?”
“Yes, because that way we can leave more water in the creek. If we took out all we could, there would be less for the creek itself.”
Why is Goicoechea allowing this the exchange if it doesn’t really benefit him?
“The cogen plant results in sixty jobs locally. When it isn’t running, money isn’t going into our grocery, or pharmacy, or the gas station. It doesn’t cost me anything to take it, it helps the cogen plant and helps the creek.”
The water is worth nothing to Goicoechea, nothing to SPI, and it benefits the community and the environment for him to take it.
What is the water worth?
It would be worth $10,000 to someone who had a dry land farm with no water rights. Unfortunately, it would cost hundreds of thousands or more in pipe and easements, and it simply isn’t worth it for such a relatively small and unreliable amount of water.