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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Oversight contract approved for Conjunctive Use Project


Last updated 8/17/2018 at 2:29pm

During the July 23 Fallbrook Public Utility District board meeting, FPUD's board, along with attending staff and members of the public, were updated on the status of the Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project, and following that update, FPUD's board voted 5-0 to approve a construction management services contract with Terrapin Group for up to $1,853,740.

"It's just a contract to make sure we have oversight on the project when it goes to construction," said FPUD acting general manager Jack Bebee.

The Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project being pursued by FPUD, Camp Pendleton and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation would enhance groundwater recharge and recovery capability within the lower Santa Margarita River basin and develop a program which would increase available water supplies for FPUD and Camp Pendleton.

Facilities within the lower basin would be constructed to capture additional surface runoff, which currently flows to the Pacific Ocean, during high stream flow periods. The surface water would be recharged through existing groundwater ponds and stored in groundwater basins during wet years while being "banked" for water rights statistics.

The water would be used to augment supplies during dry years, which would reduce the reliance on imported water provided from San Diego County Water Authority sources. The Conjunctive Use Project would include improvements to the diversion works, increased capacity to the headgate and the O'Neill Ditch, improvements to seven existing recharge ponds, installation of new groundwater production wells and gallery wells, water treatment at either an existing or an expanded or new water treatment plant, and a bidirectional pipeline which could deliver water to FPUD while also providing the Marine Corps with an off-base water supply should conditions warrant.

The amount of water obtained will depend on weather conditions. FPUD will not receive any water in the event of an extreme drought. The minimum water delivery to FPUD will be 580 acre-feet for a very dry hydrological year, 1,300 acre-feet for a below-normal year, 3,100 acre-feet for a normal year (based on the average over the past 50 years), 5,120 acre-feet for an above-normal year, and 6,320 acre-feet for a very wet year.

A potential additional allocation of 400 acre-feet is possible, and FPUD also has the first right of refusal for excess water sold rather than used by Camp Pendleton which could provide FPUD with up to 1,500 additional acre-feet annually while also providing Camp Pendleton with revenue for operations and maintenance.

The Camp Pendleton infrastructure will include piping to deliver the water to the boundary of the Naval Weapons Station and Fallbrook behind the FPUD solar facility site on Alturas Road. Construction of the facilities from the NWS boundary is FPUD's responsibility. The water will be treated at the Alturas Road plant and delivered into FPUD's distribution system. The work will take approximately two years to complete.

In January 2017, FPUD's board authorized an application for a State Revolving Fund loan from the State Water Resources Control Board to construct the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. The loan would be for $45,000,000 and would be repaid over 20 years at an interest rate of approximately 1.6 percent.

The FPUD cost consists of $27.7 million for a groundwater treatment plant, $5.5 million for a distribution system to the Gheen Zone east of Stage Coach Lane, $7.9 million for the Gheen Pump Station and a storage tank along with piping, $1.8 million for construction management and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system integration, and $2 million for contingency. The Camp Pendleton cost estimate is $47 million, and construction of facilities on the base has commenced.

FPUD's board certified the Environmental Impact Report for the project in September 2016. In December 2017, FPUD's board authorized a settlement agreement regarding decades-old water rights litigation between the United States and FPUD, and that agreement is awaiting finalization by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The State Water Resources Control Board is finalizing a water rights permit; a draft permit was released June 4 and four weeks later FPUD submitted comments to clarify some of the reporting and diversion accounting. The final permit is expected to be issued later this year. The State Revolving Fund loan will be finalized after the water rights permits are issued.

FPUD expects construction to begin in 2019. Terrapin Group will handle day-to-day oversight of the general contractor. A request for proposals for the construction management services contract was issued May 29 and four firms submitted proposals by the June 14 deadline.

All four proposals were found to be fully responsive and representatives of each firm were interviewed June 20 by a selection committee consisting of FPUD system operations manager Jason Cavender, FPUD engineering supervisor Jeff Marchand, and City of Carlsbad engineering manager Terry Smith. The firms were rated on four criteria addressing reputation in the industry, the interview responses, experience with other projects, and staffing capability.

Terrapin Group was given the highest score among the four firms. Although cost was not a component in the scoring, the $1,853,740 bid submitted by Terrapin Group was also the lowest of the four bids.

The scope of work includes pre-award and pre-construction services, construction management support services, quality assurance and field inspection services, commissioning and startup coordination and support, agency coordination, public outreach and close-out assistance tasks.

The pre-award and pre-construction services work will include a constructability review, coordination of pre-construction meetings, and assisting with contractor pre-qualification. The construction management support services tasks will provide general project administration, change order management and control, claims support, request for information management, schedule monitoring and progress meetings.

The quality assurance and field inspection services will include inspection and quality assurance for pipelines, geotechnical applications, electrical items, instrumentation and controls. The commissioning and startup coordination phase will involve facilitating startup meetings, interfacing between FPUD staff and manufacturers, coordination of the contractor's commissioning plan, and creation of a "punch list" of work to be completed.

The agency coordination will include work with utility companies, assistance on encroachment permits, and any needed work with Camp Pendleton. The public outreach will involve communicating with stakeholders impacted by construction activities, conducting public meetings when necessary, fielding complaints, and coordinating responses to citizen input with FPUD staff. The closeout assistance will include final reports, as-built drawing preparation, final project accounting, and closeout change orders.


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