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CWA sets June 26 hearing for rate increases


Last updated 5/29/2008 at Noon

On June 26 the San Diego County Water Authority will hold a public hearing on its proposed rate increases for 2009.

The County Water Authority’s planned 2009 rates include a 17.8 percent increase in the municipal and industrial untreated supply rates from $390 to $463 per acre foot, a 23.4 percent increase in the rate for untreated agricultural water from $261 to $322 per acre foot, and an 11.8 percent increase in the Infrastructure Access Charge from $1.70 to $1.90 per meter equivalent.

The rates are those the CWA charges to its member agencies, who can either absorb the rate increases or pass them on to retail customers.

The CWA’s water rates are based on a melded rate involving delivery of water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and water purchased from the Imperial Irrigation District under the Quantification Settlement Agreement.

The municipal and industrial rate per acre foot increased to $390 in 2008 from $365 in 2007 and the agricultural rate increased from $241 in 2007 to $261 in 2008.

The Interim Agricultural Water Program provides surplus MWD supplies to agricultural customers at a discounted rate, and the IAWP conditions allow for a reduction of up to 30 percent prior to implementing any mandatory reductions to municipal and industrial customers.

An agricultural property may choose to pay the municipal and industrial rate and not be subject to the IAWP cuts, although the current reduction program stipulated a participant obligation cutoff date of December 31, 2006.

The CWA rates also include a surcharge for treated water which is proposed to increase from $164 to $168 per acre foot.

The CWA’s transportation rate, which is a uniform rate set to recover capital, operating, and maintenance costs of the CWA’s aqueduct system, is slated to increase from $60 to $64 per acre foot. (The transportation rate only applies to member agencies utilizing CWA facilities; the delivery point from the MWD pipeline is six miles south of the county line and certain Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District turnouts do not utilize the CWA infrastructure.)

The Infrastructure Access Charge is used for CWA fixed expenditures which are incurred even when water use is reduced.

The CWA’s Customer Service Charge, which is also intended to recover costs which support the operations of the CWA and is allocated among member agencies based on a three-year rolling average of all deliveries, is proposed to increase from $15,200,000 to $16,000,000.

The Storage Charge, which recovers costs related to emergency storage programs and is also allocated based on a pro-rata share of deliveries, is slated to increase from $22,200,000 to $23,000,000.

The CWA also has a Standby Availability Charge of $10 per acre or $10 for a parcel under one acre, and that is proposed to remain unchanged.

MWD also has a Readiness to Serve Charge, which is set on a fiscal year basis and which also involves credits for the standby charge and administrative costs.

The CWA’s share is scheduled to increase from $9,782,918 to $10,865,652, and that charge will be allocated to member agencies based on a ten-year rolling average of demands.

The MWD Capacity Charge, which is allocated to CWA member agencies proportionally based on a five-year rolling average of flows during peak periods, will likely remain unchanged at $8,812,800.


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