The Answer in Santa Paula

The May issue of Water and Wastes Digest describes what I believe to be the answer to our need for substantial investment in water infrastructure.

In Santa Paula, California, an hours drive north of Los Angeles, the city faced a need for replacement and upgrade of its municipal wastewater facility built in 1939.

In a creative deal that is likely to be duplicated in locales across America, Santa Paula struck a deal with a private entity to fund, construct and operate the needed wastewater facility in return for a long-term contract with the city.

This kind of deal, referred to as DBOF or “design, build, operate and fund”, is a means for government entities without funding to obtain new facilities to replace the aging infrastructure.

In Santa Paula’s example, the incentives provided in the contract caused the private entity to complete the facility ahead of schedule and to incorporate energy efficiencies beyond the minimum requirements.

Kudos to Santa Paula for providing a great example of a government using a public-private partnership to fund replacement and upgrade of our water infrastructure.

Dennis McCarthy

(213) 222-8260