Does Osby Wanna Sell Our Reservoir ?
Times Herald Misses the Story Again
By Marc Garman
Acting on an idea originally proposed by IAFF 1186 President Kurt Henke, Vallejo has been looking for someone to buy part of our reservior system. The following article is from the Fairfield Daily Republic. Should Vallejo sell an invaluable asset at a bad time to support unsustainable recurring costs with a one time revenue? How long will it take for us to chew through the money? And then what? Wonder why we never heard about it locally until now.
By Barry Eberling
FAIRFIELD - Vallejo is willing to entertain offers to sell Lake Curry reservoir near Gordon Valley, if the price and circumstances are right.
The lake is hardly the biggest reservoir around, holding less than 1 percent the water of massive Lake Berryessa. Then again, Lake Curry was created 83 years ago to serve Vallejo, not Solano County's farms and four of its cities.
Lake Curry also comes with 2,200 acres of watershed with gorgeous scenery that is presently closed to the public. Location, location, location.
'A lot of it's oak woodland, grassland and chaparral,' said John Woodbury of the Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District. 'And it's pretty much pristine, other than the reservoir itself.'
Vallejo stopped using the reservoir in 1992. It tried to resume use about eight years ago, but laws protecting the rare steelhead trout in Suisun Creek have proven an obstacle.
Now Vallejo has an opportunity to buy additional rights for Lake Berryessa reservoir water from the Solano Irrigation District. Lake Berryessa is a reliable water source with canals and pipes already leading to Vallejo and no steelhead issues.
'What I really need is money,' Vallejo Water Superintendent Erik Nugteren said.
If the city sells Lake Curry, it could have the money to buy more Lake Berryessa water rights. Plus, Vallejo would no longer have to maintain a small reservoir some 16 miles away from the city.
All Vallejo needs now is a potential buyer.
'No one has come with a proposal or desire to get an appraisal done and discuss specifics,' Nugteren said.
Fairfield at first might seem the most likely city to want Lake Curry as a water source. The city's northwest border is only 7 miles from the lake, and Suisun Creek passes near the city border.
Fairfield could also right what was seen as a big wrong when Vallejo created Lake Curry in 1926. The Suisun City-based Solano Republican newspaper called Vallejo's move 'a gigantic water grab.'
But Fairfield may not want a relatively small amount of water that would take a lot of work to bring to the city, Assistant Public Works Director Rick Wood said.
'It's got a lot of constraints,' Wood said. 'We actually are pretty well fixed for water supplies in Fairfield now. It's hard to see unless we see the whole package, what that would entail.'
Another possibility is open space groups will be interested in preserving the land and perhaps creating public access. The property is located in Napa County, just beyond the Solano County border, making Napa County open space groups the likely buyers.
There is interest, Woodbury said. 'Having said that, we don't have any money,' he added.
Woodbury is looking to see whether a national land trust might be interested. But, at the moment, nothing is on the horizon.
Nugteren can envision someone wanting the lake for environmental mitigation to help steelhead. Then Lake Curry reservoir could be operated solely for the benefit of fish, he said.
Still another possibility is Vallejo will keep Lake Curry and again use it as a water supply. Vallejo is still moving ahead with this idea, but slowly, Nugteren said.
Lake Curry dates back to the days when Vallejo was creating its own, far-flung water empire in Solano County. The city in 1894 built a reservoir in the hills above Green Valley and then built another in 1908 But those two reservoirs yielded too little water.
By 1920, Vallejo resumed its water hunt. It settled this time on Gordon Valley and created Lake Curry in Fairfield's backyard.
Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, ext. 232, or
Location: Gordon Valley in Napa County, just beyond the Solano County line
Public access: None
Size: Lake covers 377 acres; watershed is 2,200 acres
Dam: 104 feet high, earthen, built in 1926
Capacity: 10,700 acre feet
Deepest point: 60 feet
Water sources: Suisun Creek and other, unnamed creeks