The Advisory Committee on the Fallbrook/Rainbow Detachment convened by San Diego’s Local Agency Formation Commission met Feb. 1, and by the next advisory committee meeting scheduled for April 5, consultant Michael Hanemann will have a recommendation on the supply reliability issue associated with the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District plans to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex into the Eastern Municipal Water District.
Hanemann will receive supply reliability information from affected districts by Feb. 22, and the agencies will have until March 1 to rebut data in the reports submitted. No input will be allowed in March while Hanemann works on his recommendation.
“I want to complete my analysis by the beginning of April,” Hanemann said. “What I want to do at that time is report on the conclusions I’m leaning toward.”
The California Water Code requires all urban water suppliers in the state to prepare and submit an Urban Water Management Plan which must include a detailed evaluation of the supplies necessary to meet expected demand over at least a 20-year period in both normal years and dry years.
An urban water supplier is defined as an agency which provides water for municipal purposes to more than 3,000 customers or provides more than 3,000 acre-feet of non-agricultural water annually. The Urban Water Management Plan must be updated every five years.
The SDCWA most recently updated its Urban Water Management Plan in 2015, and that plan was prepared during a drought. During the Dec. 7 advisory committee meeting, at which Hanemann was introduced, he expressed his desire to incorporate more recent experience in his supply reliability analysis.
The CWA is in the process of updating its Urban Water Management Plan and provided a draft updated plan to LAFCO – information is to be submitted through LAFCO rather than to Hanemann directly – in January.
Hanemann said that the updated plan submitted by the CWA doesn’t address finance, rates or decision-making procedures, and he asked for that information. He also asked for updated urban water management plans from the other three agencies involved.
“I think it’s materials we’ve already provided,” Nick Kanetis, deputy general manager of Eastern Municipal Water District, said. “A lot of what he’s asking for is already in the material.”
Because the CWA is currently the primary supplier for FPUD and Rainbow those two agencies will incorporate the CWA updates into their own urban water management plans, but Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, and Tom Kennedy, general manager of Rainbow Municipal Water District, will provide updated supply and demand information to LAFCO.
FPUD and U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton are partnering on the Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project which will increase available water supplies for FPUD and Camp Pendleton and is expected to be complete in early 2022.
The procedure of the documents being supplied by the agencies rather than having Hanemann find information from websites will limit Hanemann’s work to actual information along with rebuttals.
“I want to make sure, given the importance of this, that I’m looking at the right documents,” he said. “It’s better that I’m not going on a fishing expedition of my own.”
After Hanemann addresses water supply reliability, he will then focus on water rate impacts, and his final topic will be potential departure payments.
“We’re just anxious to keep it moving,” Bebee said.
An update on the status of the detachment applications was provided by LAFCO chief policy analyst Robert Barry. The FPUD and Rainbow reorganization proposals are being processed concurrently but are considered separate applications.
“Both of these are going on in parallel,” Barry said.
The prerequisites before the application can be brought to the LAFCO board include a property tax exchange in which property tax revenue would be transferred from the agency losing the territory to the agency acquiring the territory.
The research functions from the County Assessor’s office and the Office of the Auditor and Controller have been completed. A determination has yet to be made whether a preexisting master property tax exchange resolution applies or whether separate action is needed.
The staff report will also include information from the detachment advisory committee.
“We’re waiting for the property tax exchange and then continuation of our discussions with this group,” Barry said.
An updated municipal service review and sphere of influence are required for any jurisdictional change other than an annexation of land within the existing sphere of influence. A municipal service review evaluates an area’s services and anticipated needs, and a sphere of influence study determines the boundaries best served by a particular agency. Barry expects administrative drafts of updated municipal service reviews to be available by the April 5 meeting.
LAFCO staff will process information, but the detachment committee meetings are now chaired by Adam Wilson, who previously worked for the office of county supervisor Dianne Jacob. LAFCO executive officer Keene Simonds will continue to participate in the meetings.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].