Troubled Spanish Company Building Vista Ridge Pipeline Seeks New Investors

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CHARLIE PIERCE | COURTESY OF THE SIERRA CLUB
  • Charlie Pierce | Courtesy of the Sierra Club
In November, the Spanish company that's responsible for building the controversial 142-mile Vista Ridge water pipeline started bankruptcy proceedings.

Now, Abengoa is seeking new investors for the project, which has strong support from Mayor Ivy R. Taylor and the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).

“We understand that Abengoa is reorienting its global business to focus on contracting, and the Vista Ridge project will remain a cornerstone of this strategy,” Taylor says in a press release.

So, just how many new investors does Abengoa need?

The San Antonio Express-News reports that Abengoa Vista Ridge, a subsidiary of the larger international conglomerate, is seeking investors to fund 80 percent of the project. According to KSAT, the company originally sought investors to provide funding for 49 percent of the effort to build the pipeline. 

Yet, Taylor says she's positive the Vista Ridge pipeline is viable.

“I look forward to continue to work closely with Abengoa Vista Ridge and to ensure thorough vetting of new equity partners. Before any changes are made, we will carry out detailed due diligence,” Taylor says.

Later this week, Abengoa Vista Ridge will share more financial details with SAWS so the water utility can monitor and manage the project. Taylor says SAWS leadership will vet investors and that the process will be transparent, with investors being picked from proposals that fit and benefit the project. Additionally, investors have to agree to all existing terms.

SAWS says the pipeline will diversify the city's water portfolio, which includes eight existing sources and a ninth on the way, along with providing a 30-year supply of water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that would meet the needs of an estimated 1.1 million people expected to live in Bexar County by 2040.

Opponents of the project failed to convince City Council about their concerns, which included a rate increase that they say hurts low-income families and seniors, damaging drawdown in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and environmental damage caused by slash-and-burn development and suburban sprawl that opponents say the pipeline will enable. 


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