Village News Staff
The San Diego County Water Authority voted Thursday, Nov. 16, to withdraw its legal action against two customer water districts, Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utilities District, as well as the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). This decision follows a board meeting where, after private discussions, the Water Authority instructed its legal team to negotiate a settlement.
The lawsuit, initiated in August, was part of the Water Authority's efforts to prevent these districts from detaching from the Water Authority. LAFCO, the organization responsible for overseeing boundary changes, had previously approved the separation of these districts from the Water Authority.
As a result of the lawsuit being dropped, the FPUD board of directors is considering its rates at the Dec. 8 meeting with a recommendation to remove the fees charged by the Water Authority.
“For the average residential customer, this will amount to a 5% decrease on their water bill,” said FPUD General Manager Jack Bebee. This will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. FPUD’s exit fee is $8 million to be paid over five years.
RMWD General Manager Jake Wiley said that Rainbow’s exit fees total $15.8 million. He also said, “Rainbow’s realization of savings from the detachment will not occur until mid-to-late 2024, as the transition to full wholesale supply by Eastern Municipal Water District is more complex than FPUD’s.
“The transfer of facilities that need to occur and the modifications of our distribution system will take more time to be ready for the full transfer. Rainbow is planning budget workshops that will be open to the public starting in January 2024, and will be factoring in the wholesale water savings as soon as the process is complete.”