HOSEC Communities Supplying Water to AERA Out the Back Door?

Communities comprising HOSEC, dedicated to defeating the AERA development, are individually making deals to supply water to AERA's water district. Without identified water sources, state law prohibits new large developments.

From HOSEC's website:
"The Hillside Open Space Education Coalition (HOSEC) was established by the cities of Brea, La Habra, La Habra Heights and Whittier, and the Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights Community Associations to preserve and acquire important open space along the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties."

"The most worrisome project facing HOSEC is the proposed development by Aera Energy, a subsidiary of Shell ExxonMobil. This project would be the largest single development ever proposed in the hills bordering Los Angeles and Orange counties. Aera owns 3,000 acres between Harbor Blvd. and the 57 freeway located in the middle of the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor. They have proposed to develop 3600 houses, a golf course and three commercial centers on land that, if left undeveloped, would complete the Corridor and preserve this environmentally rich treasure forever. "

HOSEC received an initial funding of $500,000 from the member cities. The most recent financial report, of February 2011, shows that after 7 years of meetings, staff time, consultant expenditures, legal costs and a mailing, the organization had a fund balance of $495,000. This stewardship of funds is a relative rarity in government. At the February 2011 presentation, Chairman Bob Henderson said that they try to be very tight and frugal with the money.

While the Committee has endeavored to stop the AERA development by finding means of it being purchased as open space, associated water agencies have been cutting deals which could ensure water supplies for the development.

In 2002, AERA approached Rowland Water District (RWD) for a water study to determine if adequate water supplies were available.

In 2007, RWD released a report stating that sufficient water for AERA would be available from Metropolitan Water District (MWD) sources.

The report also stated that AERA had 71 shares of Cal Domestic Water District stock, good for 125 acre feet of water. However, there was no means to deliver that water at the time.

Since the study results, with drought and legal rulings restricting water supplies due to the Delta Smelt and over-demands on the Colorado River water supply MWD restricted availability and raised water prices.

RWD has started a number of efforts to diversify water sources.

In 2011, the RWD General Manager restated the findings of the AERA study but said that given the change in circumstances AERA may need to do a new study on water availability.

Brea and La Habra

In January 2011, RWD signed an agreement with Cal Domestic Water District (CDWD) which provides for drilling a new well in the Central Basin, using CDWD facilities to transport water, and building a new pipeline and pump stations along Harbor Blvd in La Habra Heights to deliver 3-5,000 acre feet of water per year to RWD.
Now AERA has a means to transport the water they own.

Cal Domestic Water District is majority owned by the Cities of La Habra and Brea, both members of HOSEC, purportedly opposed to the AERA development.

La Habra Heights

From 2010-2012, RWD has been negotiating (see lastest draft agreement) with the La Habra Heights County Water District (LHHCWD) to use LHHCWD facilities to transport 2,000 acre feet of water per year to RWD.

At the September 27, 2011 Water Board Regular Meeting, before a full room and crowd that was concerned about their facilities used to help AERA, Board President Brad Cooke said the Aera Project had died, and was told so by Aera Development.

On September 28, 2011, when asked if the Aera project is dead, Jeff Maisch, Land Development Project Manager for Aera , said laughing, "News of our death is greatly exaggerated."
He said the project is very much alive. The application will be with Los Angeles County which will be the lead agency.
Mr. Maisch said Aera is continuing to pursue the project. He said with the current economy things have slowed down.

Aera Still in the Game

State Senator Bob Huff's December Newsletter shows Aera's Rep out on a water tour with decision makers.


Senator Bob Huff co-hosting a Water Infrastructure Inspection Tour
From L-R: Jeff Morin (AT&T), Jody Roberto (Huff Senior Field Representative), Senator Bob Huff (29th District), George Basye (Aera Energy), Tina Javid (Gas Co), and Juan Garcia (Chevron and former La Habra Mayor)

La Habra Heights is a member of HOSEC, however LHHCWD Board members have been overtly supported by several La Habra Heights Council members.

Whittier

The January 2012 RWD Board packet included updates on deals underway for more water. One of those (below) shows the City of Whittier in negotiation to supply RWD.

Whittier is a key member of HOSEC.

The Back Door?

The HOSEC communities and their officials publicly oppose AERA.

However, out the back door the same communities are making deals which could facilitate the AERA development.

Why?



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