Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

MWD declares Pala parcel surplus

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared 41 parcels, including a 14.48-acre parcel on the west side of Pala Temecula Road, as surplus land which is no longer required for MWD’s current and foreseeable needs.

The MWD board vote Oct. 11 also authorized MWD staff to take the necessary actions to divest the parcels. Another public agency will have the first option to obtain the land, and if no public agency desires a specific parcel at a mutually agreeable price the land may be sold to a private party.

The 41 parcels total 636.35 acres. The Pala parcel is the only parcel in San Diego County which was declared to be surplus. The declaration of surplus deemed that the parcel is no longer considered viable for MWD’s Pipeline 6 alignment.

Pipeline 6 is expected to carry between 470 and 630 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water and would connect Lake Skinner with the San Diego County Water Authority’s Twin Oaks Diversion Structure.

The 470-630 cfs rate equates to 300 to 400 million gallons per day (mgd), and the 400 mgd figure would increase the SDCWA’s imported water capacity by 45%. The north reach of the project, which has already been completed, serves Temecula and covers the first seven miles between Lake Skinner and Anza Road at DePortola Road in Temecula.

The southern reach would extend from Anza Road at DePortola Road to the CWA delivery point approximately six miles south of the Riverside County line. That portion, measuring approximately 6 1/2 miles, would be installed in a tunnel. The total planned length of Pipeline 6 is approximately 31 miles, and the CWA would be responsible for the 11.7-mile segment between the delivery point and the Twin Oaks Diversion Structure.

Five other MWD pipelines convey water along the San Diego Aqueduct to San Diego County; three of those provide treated water and two convey untreated supply. The CWA also has local supply sources including the Claude "Bud" Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, and the San Diego County portion of Pipeline 6 is not expected to be needed until at least 2035. However, MWD began right-of-way acquisition so that easements could be obtained at a lower cost and MWD has also conducted geotechnical and hydrological studies.

Pipeline 6 was first studied in 1987 as part of a general review of MWD’s distribution system. When the MWD board certified an Environmental Impact Report in 1993, the pipeline was identified as being nine to 10 feet in diameter. Part of the easement in that EIR is on a property which has since been purchased by the Pechanga Indian Reservation, and MWD is looking at an eastern bypass around that property which would connect to the EIR-cited alignment south of the county line. MWD no longer considers the planned Pipeline 6 tunnel portal, which was the intended use of the land declared surplus Oct. 11, to be needed.

Altogether MWD owns approximately 175,569 acres of fee property and approximately 36,067 acres of utility and fallowing easement across 12 counties in California. MWD retains properties for current and future uses related to the conveyance, storage, and treatment of water and for environmental mitigation and water conservation purposes.

MWD’s land needs adjust with the evolution of the district’s operations and uses. Under the land management provisions of the state’s Surplus Land Act and MWD’s Administrative Code, excess land which is owned in fee may be disposed of after the board takes formal action in a public meeting declaring the land as surplus and not necessary for MWD use.

MWD’s Real Property Group performs a periodic evaluation of fee-owned real property to determine which properties may have become excess to MWD’s current and foreseeable operational requirements and other needs. The Real Property Group confers with MWD’s Property Review Council which consists of staff members representing department interests. The two groups develop procedures and criteria to evaluate real property asset availability for disposal by way of surplus lease or sale.

The Property Review Council considers several factors when reviewing property holdings to determine a potential surplus parcel including parcels with existing or proposed operational facilities, parcels needed as buffer land around an existing facility, parcels retained for possible future projects, existing or potential environmental reserve lands, parcels used for access to operational and mitigation areas, parcels used for dewatering or emergency water discharges, and parcels used for water conservation purposes.

The recommendations are then presented to the MWD board, which makes a final determination whether to declare the property as surplus to MWD needs.

Five of the other 40 parcels declared surplus Oct. 11 are in San Bernardino County and were potential intake points for the Colorado River Aqueduct. Five parcels in Riverside County are remnant parcels from Colorado River Aqueduct projects.

The other 30 parcels are in Riverside County and were acquired for the Val Verde Tunnel, which is more than 200 feet below ground. There is no ability to access the Val Verde Tunnel from the surface of those 30 properties, although MWD will retain the tunnel easements for those parcels and any property with a tunnel access shaft will be retained in fee for future tunnel maintenance, repair, or rehabilitation.

The Surplus Land Act requires consideration of affordable housing for any surplus land. A written notice of availability will be sent to the state Department of Housing and Community Development and certain designated entities focused on affordable housing, open space, and other uses. An eligible entity which desires to purchase or lease the land must notify MWD in writing and is entitled to a period of good faith negotiations. After that process MWD may dispose of the property by auction, open listing, or other means which would enable MWD to obtain the highest sale price.

In addition to sale revenues MWD will also no longer be responsible for maintenance or security costs for those parcels.


Reader Comments(1)

rustyhorserange writes:

Can you please list the APN number for the 14.48-acre parcel on the west side of Pala Temecula Road that will be divested by the MWD?

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