Independent Review Panel Issues Report on Proposed San Francisco Water Bond

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Blue Ribbon Panel has presented its analysis of the proposed capital improvement program to rebuild San Francisco's water and sewer systems.
The SFPUC hired the firm R.W. Beck to prepare a detailed technical and financial analysis of the capital improvement program. SFPUC General Manager Patricia Martel then asked the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) to assemble a panel of outside experts to review the work of R.W. Beck.
This Blue Ribbon Panel reviewed R.W. Beck's work, which evaluates the priorities and cost estimates of individual projects, the proposed financing mechanisms and the capacity of the Public Utilities Commission to carry out the improvements.
The Panel concluded that the analysis performed by R.W. Beck was "comprehensive, rigorous and accurate." Said Panel Convener Jim Chappell, "This should give the voters confidence that the SFPUC's capital improvement plan is well-conceived."
The capital improvement plan will be used as the basis for an anticipated revenue bond package to come before the voters this fall.
In addition, the Panel proposed a set of longer-term recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the SFPUC. These include changes to hiring and contracting practices; an improved asset management plan to ensure that the water system is maintained over time; and reforms of the City Charter that would give the SFPUC greater independence from political influence.
Members of the Blue Ribbon Panel included: Jim Chappell, SPUR (Blue Ribbon Panel Convener); Margaret Bruce, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group; Dennis Diemer, East Bay Municipal Utility District; David Dowall, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Jeanne Myerson, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; John Wise, Ph.D., Natural Heritage Institute; and Greg Zlotnick, Santa Clara Valley Water District.
"The bottom line is we need to move ahead with the water program, and this report tells us the SFPUC has done its homework. If we don't act, we're facing the prospect of going 60 days without water in the next major earthquake," Chappell said.
A copy of the full 10-page final report of the Blue Ribbon Panel is available from the SPUR website ( or from the SPUR office (415-781-8726 x 112).

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association

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