New figures show Southern California water ratepayers now paying $350 million more than necessary
In just one month, MWD over-collections jump by $30 million
The Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, whose rate-setting practices affect 18 million people from Ventura to San Diego County, updated its forecast to show that it will over-collect an additional $30 million from Southern California water ratepayers.
Just last month, MWD projected its ongoing practice of over-collection would cause its unrestricted reserves to exceed its board-established maximum by $320 million by the end of June. Now, that figure is up to $350 million.
The $30 million increase would have gone unnoticed, since it was not noted or highlighted by MWD when it released its updated budget documents at its Finance and Insurance Committee meeting on April 7. Instead, an innocuous sentence with the new estimate was slipped into a 150-plus page document. MWD has said it plans to use the windfall to pay for things it never included in its budget, rather than give the money back to ratepayers or provide relief from rising water rates.
In March, the San Diego County Water Authority developed an online over-collection clock to help Southern California ratepayers understand the impact of the overcharges on their water district. The clock counts how much MWD is over-collecting until the end of its fiscal year on June 30, 2014. The clock – posted at www.mwdfacts.com – has been updated to reflect the new figures.
A drop-down menu below the over-collection clock allows users to find updated numbers for how much each MWD-member agency is being overcharged. Not sure which water agency represents you at MWD? Click here to see a list of water agencies by service area.
Over the past 21 months, Metropolitan has amassed cash reserves that are $630 million more than MWD needs to meet all of its budget requirements. Despite this cash infusion, Metropolitan is proposing even higher rate increases for 2015 and 2016. A planned property tax increase has been pushed to August.
MWD Over-Collection by Member Agency
What can you do?
- Stand up and tell MWD not to raise your rates. Send your email to MWD’s board at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call or email your city or water district and tell them to say NO to MWD raising your water rates. Find out which MWD member agency represents your water district by clicking here.
- Attend and speak out at MWD’s public hearing on rates scheduled for noon April 8 at MWD headquarters, 700 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles.
If we all demand answers, we can stop unnecessary water rate increases for the next two years.
Additional Metropolitan board reports on it’s over-collection practices can be found here: