In the News

Met’s fiscal practices underscore the importance of local water projects

Agency needs transparency before raising rates

Few people would be shocked to learn that the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District is once again preparing to raise water rates and property taxes for the next two years, given its history of similar increases. What alarms me most is that Metropolitan is doing so using methodology that a state Superior Court judge has ruled illegal to collect money that it does not need using a process that lacks public transparency.

The latest result is a proposal that would increase the cost of untreated water by at least 12 percent for San Diego County in 2017. Met also has proposed a new fixed charge that would force San Diego County ratepayers to pay as much as 62 percent more for treated water.

The Water Authority buys about half of its water from the Los Angeles water wholesaler, and our representatives to Met’s board have championed fair and legal rates for years even though Met refuses to listen. On Tuesday, the Met board is scheduled to vote on rates and charges for 2017 and 2018.

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Businesses get fat rebate checks for water-saving turf replacement

A tractor rumbled over 2 acres of green turf last month at the MillerCoors brewery, its mechanical rake leaving wide swaths of thirsty grass chomped up in its wake.

The once-lush knoll, by springtime, will feature a pathway of decomposed granite, a bed of river rocks and a sign encouraging water conservation.

For its water-saving efforts, the beer company is scheduled to receive a check for about $187,000 from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California through the agency’s turf replacement rebate program.

Local and state water officials have lauded the multimillion-dollar program as a water-saving boon for the drought-stricken state. Thousands of Southland residents have applied for financial incentives to tear out and replace turf with drought-friendly foliage, a move experts say is critical to recalibrating Californians’ attitude toward water. Businesses are cashing in, too, in a big way.

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Historic win for County Water Authority over MWD villains

On Friday, the San Diego County Water Authority won a historic victory — and sweet vindication — when a judge affirmed its contention that it has been systematically overcharged by the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, known as MWD.

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San Diego County Water Authority announces MWD’s rates violated state law

A judge has upheld his ruling in a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District that found the MWD’s rates violated state law, the San Diego County Water Authority announced Friday.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow on Thursday affirmed his Feb. 25 tentative ruling that stated MWD rates imposed since 2011 violated several statutes and Proposition 26, which sets the conditions for which taxes and fees can be increased, according to water authority officials, who filed the suit alleging the MWD illegally assigned unrelated water supply costs to its water transportation rates.

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Restore the Delta blasts MWD’s secret campaign to keep its water monopoly

The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has engaged in a secret campaign to attack its critics in order to keep its water monopoly and to destroy Delta fish and farms, according to documents obtained by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) under the California Public Records Act.

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Raise a glass to greater water independence

Take a close look at that next glass of water from the kitchen faucet. Squint hard and you may see a reflection of the blood, sweat and tears it took to get it into your home.

A little history may help you see it. Think back to 1991. At the time, San Diego County got 95 percent of its water from the wholesaling bully up the coast in Los Angeles, the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The state was in the midst of severe drought. The water bully cut supplies to San Diego by fully 31 percent and warned of even more cuts, threatening economic disaster here until the “Miracle March” rains rescued the region.

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Diverting recycled water could save Burbank thousands of dollars

Each year, Burbank releases more than 2 billion gallons of unused recycled water into the Los Angeles River, but a plan to divert some of that for use elsewhere could save the city thousands of dollars on the cost of importing potable water.

Under the proposed deal, the Burbank Water Reclamation Plant would redirect 110 million gallons of recycled water to North Hollywood each year, earning the utility credits that would be applied to the cost of importing potable water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Those credits would effectively save the city about $180,000 annually.

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DWP to build groundwater treatment plants on Superfund site

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to build the world’s largest groundwater treatment center over one of the largest Superfund pollution sites in the United States: the San Fernando Basin.

Two plants costing a combined $600 million to $800 million will restore groundwater pumping of drinking water from scores of San Fernando Valley wells that the DWP began closing in the 1980s, the utility said. The plants also will ensure that other wells remain open despite pollution plumes steadily migrating in their direction.

The plans mark a major shift at DWP, reversing a trend of recent decades in which the utility has offset diminishing use of groundwater with imports from Northern California and the eastern Sierra.

“By 2035, we plan to reduce our purchases of imported water by half,” said James McDaniel, the DWP’s senior assistant general manager.

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Friedman vote brings backlash

Upset that they weren’t consulted when a colleague voted against a nearly $900,000 rebate from an agency that provides most of Glendale’s water, City Council members this week pushed for new guidelines on how regional board decisions are carried out.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman — who cast the vote last week in her role as the city’s representative on the board for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

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