San Diego facing another water rate hike – MWD votes to increase water prices

Southern California homeowners have seen their water rates go up almost 400 percent in 10 years.

Now another increase voted on by the Metropolitan Water District will raise rates on its prices for 2017 and 2018.  Jason Foster with the San Diego Water Authority says those prices will get passed on to retail water agencies in the San Diego region and then come out of the wallet of local residents and businesses.

“It’s undoubtedly going to be felt by customers throughout San Diego County,” said Foster.

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If They Build It, Who Will Come?

Plans by Southern California water agencies to reduce their demand for imported water were highlighted this week by the National Geographic Newswatch blog and the Los Angeles Times.

National Geographic  reported on the efforts of Santa Monica, Camarillo, Ventura County Waterworks District No. 1, Long Beach Water Department, and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to reduce their demand for imported Bay-Delta and Colorado River water by more than 40 billion gallons per year, equivalent to the amount of water 1.11 million people would use in one year. The article highlights efforts by these jurisdictions to boost local supplies through recycling, conservation and development of more local supplies.

The Los Angeles Times article discusses how a proposed project of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power might make that a reality. LADWP announced plans to build the largest groundwater treatment plant in the world to reduce its purchases of costly imported water.

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

Similarly, many of MWD’s member agencies have plans to reduce their demands for imported water over the coming decades. In January, a  report compiled by the San Diego County Water Authority using the member agencies’ Urban Water Management Plans found that planned local supply projects could reduce demand for imported water by as much as 1.2 million acre-feet by 2035. To view a map of the planned local projects, click here.

Yet, MWD – Southern California’s water wholesaler and  the biggest buyer of water from the State Water Project – has not considered many of these  projects in its decision-making about support for a proposed Bay-Delta facility. Ratepayers are being asked to pay for a project that currently does not take into account the reality that most water agencies in Southern California are planning to decrease their imported water purchases from Metropolitan, and thus, in turn, lessen the demand for water from the Bay-Delta. A coalition of environmental groups, water agencies, and businesses has asked the state to include the following in its analysis:

■ What is the real demand in Southern California for water imported from the Bay-Delta?

■ What size project are agencies willing to pay for, as demonstrated by firm, long-term financial commitments by those who will benefit from it?

MWD acknowledges that its member agencies are not obligated to purchase any of the water available from MWD. If MWD’s member agencies continue to reduce their purchases of imported water from Metropolitan, as they already are doing, who will be left to pay Metropolitan’s share of the Bay-Delta costs?

Metropolitan Water District spending questioned as water bills double

Judge fast-tracks water rate complaint

A Superior Court judge has expedited the San Diego County Water Authority’s challenge to the Metropolitan Water District by allowing two separate water rate lawsuits to be pursued simultaneously.

In the ruling on Friday, Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer said he would coordinate the agency’s two challenges to wholesale water rates set by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District.

Request for Negotiation under Paragraph 11.1 of the Amended and Restated Agreement between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority

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