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Water Deal Would Aid City, Study Says

Providing water to the proposed Bolsa Chica housing development could help Huntington Beach cut its water costs to all residents, and would be the cheapest option by far for the developer, Koll Co., according to a study commissioned by the City Council.

But Koll Senior Vice President Lucy Dunn said the company will go with a more expensive option if the city waits too long to make an offer.

“We’re not slowing down our process here. We have other very reliable sources to provide us water,” she said.

It would cost the city $7.6 million to provide water to 2,500 homes in the area, while the most viable other alternative, a Southern California Water Co. pipeline from the Cypress well field, would run $13. million, according to a report by the Boyle Engineering Corp.

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The City Council commissioned the report to see how much it could charge Koll to hook up to the city water system. Because Bolsa Chica is in unincorporated Orange County but is surrounded by Huntington Beach, any profit would help offset the impact of thousands of new residents using the city streets, parks and libraries without paying city taxes, said Councilwoman Shirley S. Dettloff.

“It must benefit the city, or it’s not worth doing. There’s not something we’re going to do because we’re nice guys,” Dettloff said. “Right now it looks like there would be a real financial benefit to us.”

The city also needs to upgrade water service to its Peter’s Landing, Sunset Beach and Huntington Harbor areas. If Huntington Beach provides water to Bolsa Chica, the storage areas and pump stations it would build could also benefit the other areas, the report said.

And by being able to spread expenses among the customers in Bolsa Chica, the city could cut its water system maintenance costs by up to 4%, the report said.

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