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Validating the Estimated Cost of Saving Water Through Infrastructure Rehabilitation in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley

Allen W. Sturdivant, M. Edward Rister, Ronald D. Lacewell

The original ‘final’ economic analysis reporting on the Wisconsin Pipeline project was reported in July, 2003 in Texas Water Resources Institute TR-220R, entitled “Economic and Conservation Evaluation of Capital Renovation Projects: Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2 (San Juan) – 48" Pipeline Replacing Wisconsin Canal – Final.” Subsequent to that report's release, the project was installed and implemented within the District’s water-delivery infrastructure system, with actual construction costs thereby becoming known. Further, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) was/is the agency tasked with oversight of federal legislation providing construction funding for up to a potential maximum 50% of this project’s cost (U.S. Public Law 107-351). Additional funding was provided by the North American Development Bank for construction, as well as from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for this district’s use towards engineering planning and design costs.

To gauge this project’s merit (with other, similar projects proposed by other irrigation districts (IDs)), three federally-required evaluation-criterion values and a ‘comprehensive’ estimate of the cost-of-saving-water were calculated and reported in TR-220R. In a subsequent review of the project’s plan, the USBR and TWDB considered and relied upon these data in their evaluation processes.

As a follow-up and as part of due diligence to the oversight mandate, the USBR wishes to validate the original federally-required criteria and the comprehensive cost-of-saving-water estimate, to the extent possible, by using the actual construction costs (as opposed to the estimate used in TR-220R). The request by USBR for a follow-up analysis and a brief report on a revised ‘final’ key results, using the actual construction expense, was the impetus to this special report.

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