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

FPUD area added to Division 2 of EMWD

The Fallbrook Public Utility District is now a retail agency of the Eastern Municipal Water District and, as a retail agency of a wholesale agency, FPUD residents will be eligible to vote both for their FPUD division board seat and for their EMWD division seat. A Feb. 21 EMWD board vote placed the FPUD area into Division 2 for EMWD election purposes.

The 4-0 vote, with Randy Record absent, adopts a resolution adding FPUD to Division 2. EMWD staff was also authorized to initiate the redistricting process to rebalance the populations of the five EMWD divisions, although the redistricting might not occur until after the annexation of the Rainbow Municipal Water District to Eastern is complete.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California began delivering water to San Diego County in 1947. MWD's San Diego Aqueduct conveys water to a delivery point six miles south of the Riverside County line, which allowed MWD and the San Diego County Water Authority to provide equal contributions for the connection between MWD's Colorado River Aqueduct and the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside.

The SDCWA northern boundary is the county line. All but one of FPUD's connections are from MWD pipelines rather than from CWA pipelines, and four of Rainbow's eight connections are to the MWD portion of the pipeline. FPUD and Rainbow sought to reduce their cost of purchasing water – and thus their rates – by detaching from the CWA and joining Eastern.

On July 10, San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission approved a reorganization for FPUD and Rainbow to detach from the CWA and join Eastern contingent upon approval by the FPUD and Rainbow voters. The voters of both districts overwhelmingly approved the reorganization Nov. 7.

Although Riverside County’s LAFCO had delegated the reorganization process to San Diego County’s LAFCO, both LAFCO agencies filed a certificate of completion with their respective county recorder’s office. The San Diego LAFCO certificate of completion was recorded Dec. 28 and the Riverside County LAFCO certificate of completion was recorded Dec. 29.

After the LAFCO decision, the CWA filed a lawsuit against LAFCO, FPUD, and Rainbow. The four agencies agreed to a settlement Dec. 21. FPUD’s detachment from the CWA and annexation to Eastern became effective Jan. 1. The Rainbow detachment will be completed after pump stations allow all Rainbow water to be taken from turnouts north of the MWD/CWA boundary.

A water billing and service agreement between Eastern and FPUD was approved by the EMWD board Jan. 3 and by the FPUD board at a Jan. 4 special meeting. That agreement did not cover representation on the EMWD board.

Every 10 years, the EMWD director divisions are adjusted to account for population changes recorded in the decennial census. The maximum allowable variance from the highest-populated to the lowest-populated trustee area is 10%.

Local agencies are allowed to revise their trustee area boundaries, contingent upon the areas having approximately equal population and the boundaries not being drawn to disenfranchise any specific group, as the district feels is warranted so the boundaries may change earlier if growth in an area creates an unequal population – or if a populated area is annexed to the district.

The 2020 census had a total EMWD population of 870,579 consisting of 178,018 in Division 1 which includes French Valley and Winchester; 165,186 in Division 2 which is the Temecula portion of the district; 182,661 in Division 3 covering Hemet and San Jacinto; 177,198 in Division 4 which has Menifee and Perris, and 167,156 in Division 5 which is Moreno Valley.

The total population of 870,579 equates to a target population of 174,116 in each division. When the revised maps were created, EMWD staff also anticipated growth throughout the decade, and divisions which are expected to grow faster relative to the total growth in the district were allocated slightly lower populations in an attempt to keep the division populations balanced through 2030.

The boundary map adopted has 167,364 people in Division 1; 176,879 residents of Division 2; 182,712 Division 3 community members; 166,790 Division 4 residents, and 176,834 people in Division 5.

The new boundaries, which became effective for the November 2022 elections, were approved during a February 2022 EMWD board meeting. Divisions 1, 2, and 5 had elections in November 2022. The first elections for Divisions 3 and 4 under the new boundaries will take place in November 2024.

Division 2 is currently represented by Stephen Corona, and since that seat is not subject to election until November 2026, the redistricting does not need to occur until after Rainbow has joined Eastern so that only one boundary adjustment will be required.

FPUD had a population of 34,738 when the 2020 census was conducted. The addition of those residents to Division 2 gives that division 211,617 constituents, which is 16.87% above ideal while the 166,790 Division 4 population is 7.88% below ideal.

The California Elections Code prevents any change in division boundaries within 180 days prior to the election of any director. The deadline for any redistricting prior to the Nov. 5, 2024, election is thus May 9. Any redistricting would need to include public hearings.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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