FALLBROOK – Big things happened this year for the Fallbrook Public Utility District, and continue to progress as the district remains focused on buying less expensive water, saving ratepayers millions per year.
FPUD and Rainbow Municipal Water District are working together to change water suppliers, parting ways with the San Diego County Water Authority and begin purchasing their water from the Eastern Municipal Water District. The switch is expected to save FPUD and Rainbow an estimated $7.6 million a year.
The rising cost of water has long been a hot topic in Fallbrook, hitting the agriculture and avocado industry hard. Each year, the Water Authority's cost to FPUD customers has risen by an average of 8%. FPUD and Rainbow filed applications with the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, to make the wholesaler switch. LAFCO is the agency charged with overseeing such boundary changes.
The issue is likely to go before the full LAFCO commission for consideration in March 2023. After that, it will go to a vote of Fallbrook and Rainbow residents.
A century of supplying water
On June 5, 2022, FPUD turned 100 years old, and celebrated with a huge, open-to-the-public Wild West event. About 1,200 people attended the event, which included a petting zoo, horse-drawn wagon rides, vintage water vehicles, water games and crafts, and food trucks.
In those early days back in 1922, the district served about 800 customers. Today, it provides water and sewer service to more than 35,000 residents in Fallbrook, and is still engaged in a yearlong celebration to mark its first 100 years.
New water begins to flow from Fallbrook taps
FPUD also welcomed a new source of water from the Santa Margarita River. The local river flows right through Fallbrook but, for some seven decades, the district was involved in one of the longest-running federal lawsuits over water rights to the river's water.
Now with that lawsuit behind it, the district shares the river's water with Camp Pendleton. FPUD christened its new water treatment plant on Alturas Road at the end of last year. The plant purifies millions of gallons of Santa Margarita River water each year and sends it to Fallbrook taps, providing a significant amount of FPUD's water.
Fiscal management award given to FPUD
FPUD was awarded the "District of Distinction – Gold" accreditation from the Special District Leadership Foundation for its exemplary fiscal management policies and practices in district operations.
The award shows a high level of accountability and transparency by the district and its management of ratepayer funds. In addition, FPUD's board of directors and executive staff had to complete educational training in public governance and financial management.
There are more than 1,000 special districts in California. Only six in the state have this level of distinction, and FPUD is one of them.
Submitted by Fallbrook Public Utility District.