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FILLMORE : Council to Decide on Water Allocation

The Fillmore City Council is expected to decide tonight whether to take any of the state water now allocated to the United Water Conservation District.

If the council chooses to participate in the project, it will cost the city $12,000 toward an environmental study to determine if an $88-million pipeline is the best way to bring the water to the Santa Clara Valley.

United Water General Manager Fred Gientke said the city of Ventura and the Casitas Municipal Water District have already initiated a $302,500 analysis of ways to import their state water allotments.

For United to be included in the study, it has to join them now, which requires a commitment from cities hoping to use the water, he said.

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The cities of Port Hueneme and Santa Paula have expressed an interest in a share of United’s 5,000 acre-feet of state water, and the unincorporated area of Piru may also participate.

An acre-foot of water is the average amount used by a family of four in a year.

Because requests for the water exceed the amount United can supply, the cities that help finance the environmental report are most likely to receive the water, city officials said.

Fillmore could receive 800 acre-feet annually, with costs ranging form $545 to $700 per acre-foot, officials said.

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The city would use money from its water fund to cover Fillmore’s share of the study, but City Manager Roy Payne said this would take money from funds for a filtration system needed for the city’s newest well.

Gientke said United hopes to bring the water through the Santa Clara River channel, at about one-fifth the cost of a pipeline. Officials from Ventura and Casitas say a pipeline would be cleaner and more of the water would reach their customers.

The initial environmental impact report will take about 12 months, Gientke said. A second study would be necessary if the pipeline is the chosen alternative.

Gientke said estimates of the cost of the pipeline and water were based on construction within five years.

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