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RMWD approves ground lease and water sales agreements for Weese Filtration Plant

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Robert A. Weese Filtration Plant is owned by the city of Oceanside and operated by Oceanside’s Water Utilities Department, but the facility is located off of Silverleaf Lane in the Gopher Canyon area and is within the boundaries of the Rainbow Municipal Water District. The Rainbow Municipal Water District will be using that proximity to purchase excess water treatment capacity and to utilize the Weese plant to purchase available treated water for Rainbow.

A 5-0 Rainbow board vote Tuesday, Dec. 6, authorized Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy to execute the final Ground Lease Agreement and Water Sales Agreement with the city of Oceanside, authorized Kennedy and Rainbow’s Legal Counsel to continue negotiating with the city of Oceanside and to make any necessary revisions to the agreements and found the two agreements categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review.

“This is one we’ve been working on,” Kennedy said.

The city of Oceanside purchases untreated water from the San Diego County Water Authority and treats that supply at the Weese Filtration Plant which is in the 3800 block of Silverleaf Lane. The SDCWA conveys untreated water from Lake Skinner through Pipeline 3 and Pipeline 5 on the Second Aqueduct while providing treated water through Pipeline 1 and Pipeline 2 on the First Aqueduct and Pipeline 4 on the Second Aqueduct.

The CWA supply is interrupted during annual shutdowns for maintenance, and each year Rainbow rents and sets up a temporary pump near Rainbow’s Gopher Canyon Tank while working with Oceanside’s Water Utilities Department to change operation valves to boost pressure so that Rainbow can pump water from the Weese Filtration Plant into the Gopher Canyon Tank. That temporary connection provides a significant source of water for that Rainbow service zone during the shutdowns.

In August 2017, the Rainbow board authorized district staff to proceed with the design for a permanent interconnection with the Weese Filtration Plant. The interconnect project includes the purchase and installation of a pump station to move water from the Weese plant into Rainbow’s southern Gopher Zone. The permanent facilities would eliminate the labor and costs required to set up a temporary pump every year and streamline the water exchange process with the city of Oceanside.

In May 2022, Rainbow entered into a professional services agreement with Ardurra Group Inc. to provide engineering services to prepare performance specifications, drawings, pre-purchased pump skid and pump station bid packages, and an engineer’s estimate of the construction cost.

The city of Oceanside also owns and operates the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Plant, and the city has constructed a potable water reuse facility at that site. It has created excess treatment capacity at the Weese Filtration Plant the city of Oceanside is making available to other agencies.

“We have the opportunity to take it,” Kennedy said.

The Ground Lease Agreement covers approximately 5,446 square feet and specifies the area where the pump station will be located. It allows for access and installation connections from the Weese Filtration Plant to Rainbow’s proposed pump station and also stipulates where Rainbow can access the site from Twin Oaks Valley Road or Silverleaf Lane from Gopher Canyon Road.

The Ground Lease Agreement also specifically prohibits access from or to El Paseo, which is a private road, and that applies to visitors and contractors or other agents as well as staff. The pump station design plans must be submitted to the city of Oceanside for approval.

The lease will have an initial five-year period and will renew automatically on an annual basis. The city of Oceanside reserves the right to terminate the agreement early upon 180 days’ notice. The lease agreement indemnifies the city of Oceanside from any legal responsibility regarding the lease and water purchase agreement.

No rent will be charged by the city of Oceanside for the lease as long as Rainbow continues to purchase treated water as agreed upon in the Water Sales Agreement which describes the provision of water treatment services between the city and Rainbow.

The agreement also describes a second exchange location in the Morro Hills area, and Rainbow will be solely responsible for that interconnect. The Water Sales Agreement divides the purchase requirements into a Nov. 1 through April 30 winter period and a May 1 through Oct. 31 summer period. The winter period purchase is 4.0 million gallons per day, or 6.9 cubic feet per second, and the Summer Period purchase is 1.9 to 4.5 million gallons per day, or 3.0 to 6.9 cubic feet per second.

In the event of a treatment shortage, which is defined as a condition if the CWA has declared that it cannot provide treated water supplies for a period at least seven days in sufficient quantities to meet the average daily potable water demands of the city or Rainbow, the purchase amount is reduced to 2.0 million gallons per day, or 3.1 cubic feet per second. If an emergency shutdown is required by either agency that agency will notify the other either by telephone or by electronic mail.

The pricing structure of the Water Sales Agreement states that the cost of water will be based on the CWA’s treatment cost per acre-foot minus the city’s cost per acre-foot with the city and Rainbow splitting the difference. The city may accommodate additional purchases based on excess capacity after meeting city of Oceanside demands. If the city has additional supply the city will inform Rainbow by electronic mail or telephone.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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