Vidler Water Company, Inc. Agrees on Terms for Water Storage

Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from PICO Holdings, Inc.

    LA JOLLA, Calif., April 10 /PRNewswire/ --
 Today, PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:   PICO) announced that its subsidiary Vidler
 Water Company, Inc. has reached agreement with the Arizona Water Banking
 Authority concerning the terms under which the Authority can store water at
 the Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility.
     Vidler is charging a water storage fee of $45.00 per acre-foot of water
 recharged, or put into storage, during 2001.  The fee will be $46.50 per
 acre-foot for water recharged in 2002, and $48.00 per acre-foot for water
 recharged in 2003.  The agreement concludes on December 31, 2003.
     The ultimate revenues generated will depend on the quantity of water which
 the Arizona Water Banking Authority stores at the facility.  The Arizona Water
 Banking Authority has not yet indicated the quantity of water which it will
 store this year.  This will depend on a number of factors, including the
 availability of water and available storage capacity at other facilities.
 Vidler is also in discussions with others, both public and private, to store
 water at the facility.
     Vidler has the permitted right to recharge 100,000 acre-feet of water each
 year at the Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility, which is located in the
 Harquahala Valley, approximately 75 miles northwest of metropolitan Phoenix,
 Arizona.  Construction of the improvements required for full-scale recharge of
 water was completed, for less than the originally budgeted cost, in 2000.  The
 water will be stored underground in a large aquifer underlying much of the
 Valley, and will be recovered, when needed, by groundwater production wells.
 Vidler estimates that more than 1 million acre-feet of water can be stored at
 the facility.
     John Hart, PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented:
 "Vidler's agreement with the Arizona Water Banking Authority is an important
 milestone for the company. The Arizona Water Banking Authority has the
 responsibility for intrastate and interstate storage of water for public
 entities.  As the first agreement between a governmental authority and a
 private underground water storage facility, all parties were navigating in
 unfamiliar territory.  To some extent this is a transitional agreement, and
 was structured with as much latitude for all parties as possible, to allow
 everyone to get comfortable with the logistics of interstate storage in
 particular.  We are quite pleased with the result, and view this as an initial
 step in an on-going cooperative process to facilitate more efficient
 distribution of the Southwest's most precious asset--water."
     Dorothy Timian-Palmer, Vidler's Chief Operating Officer, added:  "At
 present, there is a limited volume of water available for storage in the
 Colorado River system due to below average winter precipitation, and the
 spring run-off period which generates surplus flows has almost passed.
 Despite this, we expect to store up to 20,000 acre-feet of water this year for
 intrastate users -- in other words, the State of Arizona as well as other
 private entities.  We anticipate higher usage next year, once potential
 interstate users have concluded their agreements with the State of Arizona and
 federal agencies.  Ultimately, we expect to fully utilize the facility as
 recently projected storage requirements for Nevada and California alone exceed
 all available storage."
 
     Vidler, a 96.2%-owned subsidiary of PICO, is a leading private participant
 in the water rights and water storage business in the southwestern
 United States.  Vidler owns, or has the right to acquire, more than
 61,000 acre-feet of permitted, transferable water rights in Arizona and
 Nevada, and more than 1.1 million acre-feet of water storage capacity in
 Arizona and California.
     Further information on PICO Holdings, Inc., and our investment philosophy,
 principal activities, recent developments, and current outlook, is contained
 in the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q reports which we file with the SEC.  These
 reports can be accessed on-line via our website (www.picoholdings.com), or you
 can call Carlene Wilbur (614-475-3178 x255) to request paper copies.
 
     This press release contains "forward-looking statements."  These include,
 but are not limited to, statements about the Company's operations and future
 expectations.  These statements reflect our current views about future events
 which could affect our financial performance. Although we aim to promptly
 disclose any new development which will have a material effect on PICO, we do
 not undertake to update all forward-looking statements until our next
 scheduled 10-K or 10-Q filing.  You should not place undue reliance on
 forward-looking statements because they are subject to various risks and
 uncertainties (including those listed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in
 our SEC filings) which could cause actual results to differ materially from
 such forward-looking statements or from our past results.
 
 

SOURCE PICO Holdings, Inc.
    LA JOLLA, Calif., April 10 /PRNewswire/ --
 Today, PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:   PICO) announced that its subsidiary Vidler
 Water Company, Inc. has reached agreement with the Arizona Water Banking
 Authority concerning the terms under which the Authority can store water at
 the Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility.
     Vidler is charging a water storage fee of $45.00 per acre-foot of water
 recharged, or put into storage, during 2001.  The fee will be $46.50 per
 acre-foot for water recharged in 2002, and $48.00 per acre-foot for water
 recharged in 2003.  The agreement concludes on December 31, 2003.
     The ultimate revenues generated will depend on the quantity of water which
 the Arizona Water Banking Authority stores at the facility.  The Arizona Water
 Banking Authority has not yet indicated the quantity of water which it will
 store this year.  This will depend on a number of factors, including the
 availability of water and available storage capacity at other facilities.
 Vidler is also in discussions with others, both public and private, to store
 water at the facility.
     Vidler has the permitted right to recharge 100,000 acre-feet of water each
 year at the Vidler Arizona Recharge Facility, which is located in the
 Harquahala Valley, approximately 75 miles northwest of metropolitan Phoenix,
 Arizona.  Construction of the improvements required for full-scale recharge of
 water was completed, for less than the originally budgeted cost, in 2000.  The
 water will be stored underground in a large aquifer underlying much of the
 Valley, and will be recovered, when needed, by groundwater production wells.
 Vidler estimates that more than 1 million acre-feet of water can be stored at
 the facility.
     John Hart, PICO's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented:
 "Vidler's agreement with the Arizona Water Banking Authority is an important
 milestone for the company. The Arizona Water Banking Authority has the
 responsibility for intrastate and interstate storage of water for public
 entities.  As the first agreement between a governmental authority and a
 private underground water storage facility, all parties were navigating in
 unfamiliar territory.  To some extent this is a transitional agreement, and
 was structured with as much latitude for all parties as possible, to allow
 everyone to get comfortable with the logistics of interstate storage in
 particular.  We are quite pleased with the result, and view this as an initial
 step in an on-going cooperative process to facilitate more efficient
 distribution of the Southwest's most precious asset--water."
     Dorothy Timian-Palmer, Vidler's Chief Operating Officer, added:  "At
 present, there is a limited volume of water available for storage in the
 Colorado River system due to below average winter precipitation, and the
 spring run-off period which generates surplus flows has almost passed.
 Despite this, we expect to store up to 20,000 acre-feet of water this year for
 intrastate users -- in other words, the State of Arizona as well as other
 private entities.  We anticipate higher usage next year, once potential
 interstate users have concluded their agreements with the State of Arizona and
 federal agencies.  Ultimately, we expect to fully utilize the facility as
 recently projected storage requirements for Nevada and California alone exceed
 all available storage."
 
     Vidler, a 96.2%-owned subsidiary of PICO, is a leading private participant
 in the water rights and water storage business in the southwestern
 United States.  Vidler owns, or has the right to acquire, more than
 61,000 acre-feet of permitted, transferable water rights in Arizona and
 Nevada, and more than 1.1 million acre-feet of water storage capacity in
 Arizona and California.
     Further information on PICO Holdings, Inc., and our investment philosophy,
 principal activities, recent developments, and current outlook, is contained
 in the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q reports which we file with the SEC.  These
 reports can be accessed on-line via our website (www.picoholdings.com), or you
 can call Carlene Wilbur (614-475-3178 x255) to request paper copies.
 
     This press release contains "forward-looking statements."  These include,
 but are not limited to, statements about the Company's operations and future
 expectations.  These statements reflect our current views about future events
 which could affect our financial performance. Although we aim to promptly
 disclose any new development which will have a material effect on PICO, we do
 not undertake to update all forward-looking statements until our next
 scheduled 10-K or 10-Q filing.  You should not place undue reliance on
 forward-looking statements because they are subject to various risks and
 uncertainties (including those listed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in
 our SEC filings) which could cause actual results to differ materially from
 such forward-looking statements or from our past results.
 
 SOURCE  PICO Holdings, Inc.