The bulk of last night’s The Dalles City Council meeting was taken up with a discussion of a proposed water agreement between the city and Design LLC, otherwise known as Google. The agreement takes into consideration that Google plans to build two new server farms on property that includes the site of the former rodeo grounds. Those new farms will need more water, and some people were concerned that this would leave less water for residents. The agreement takes that into consideration, and makes a number of improvements in the city’s water system. Mayor Rich Mays summarized them this way:
“A new 18 inch water line, a new ground water well with emergency backup power, a new aquifer storage and recovery system that’s compatible with our groundwater well, we’re getting a new water storage reservoir, we’re getting a new water pump station, we’re getting a new sanitary sewer lift station, we’re getting a new sanitary sewer. force main, and we’re getting a new utility access corridor. And this $28 million dollars, the cost of the improvements I just listed are all going to be paid for by design or Google.”
Also under the agreement, Google would turn over water rights it obtained when buying a portion of the former aluminum company property, and by paying for all these improvements, Google would be actually increasing the water supply to the city aquifer beyond what they would additionally draw, as confirmed by Public Works Director Dave Anderson.
“The quantities of each — both the water right and the production capacity of the wells — are both greater than the amount of water requested by Design for the new development. The city would be receiving a net increase in both water rights and water protection capacity.”
Tonight was just a discussion item. The measure, and the proposed SIP agreement that will bring millions of tax dollars into the community, will be up for a vote at the October 25th city council meeting.