Farmers and other taxpayers in Fallbrook and Rainbow could see average savings on their water bills of more than $20 a month if they join the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County, according to a new report.
However, the measure may increase the cost of water for other San Diegans by more than $2 per month on average, according to findings by the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO.
The San Diego County Water Authority has been hostile to the idea of losing two of its 24 member agencies. The wholesaler has seen its water sales drop by more than 40 percent since 2007, largely as a result of conserving the unforeseen drought.
Amid declining revenues, the agency has had to more than double its rates to cover a myriad of fixed costs, from debt payments on reservoirs, canals and other infrastructure projects to painstakingly negotiated long-term water contracts.
“LAFCO is proposing that everyone else in San Diego County pay more so that Rainbow and Fallbrook customers can supposedly save $20 a month,” the water authority said in a statement. “This is not a defensible or sustainable way to set policy for our most important natural resource.”
Water managers in Fallbrook and Rainbow have been trying to cut ties with the water authority for a couple of years. They have argued that the agency’s sky-high fees, fueled in part by an increasingly expensive desalination plant in Carlsbad, have crushed their agricultural sectors.
Tensions rose last winter when the wholesaler proposed building a $5 billion pipeline through the Anza-Borrego desert to transport water from the Colorado River. Advocates said it could save taxpayers billions of dollars by the end of the century. Critics called it a potential boondoggle.
The water authority’s aggressive efforts to protect residents from mandatory drought shutoffs are not worth the cost for many rural taxpayers, said Tom Kennedy, general manager of the Rainbow Municipal Water District.
“When you consider an urban area with biotech and tourism and high-density communities, their relationship between price and reliability is different from farmers,” he said. “If it closed because the cost of water is too high, then it doesn’t matter how reliable the water is.”
The San Diego County Farm Bureau has refused to take a stance, saying its constituents are divided on the issue.
“We have passionate members on both sides of this,” said office president Mary Matava.
LAFCO is currently drafting the terms by which Rainbow and Fallbrook could leave the water authority to join Eastern. To help offset any impact on the water authority’s remaining ratepayers, the agency has proposed an “exit fee” of about $63 million over five years. Neither party was satisfied with the number.
Meanwhile, many local officials have expressed concern about the ripple effect of losing the two North County agencies.
“What is clear is that detachment will have a considerable impact in the region,” said Nick Serrano, deputy chief of staff to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Ultimately, the city’s position will be about what is best for the people of San Diego.”
However, Fallbrook and Rainbow aren’t the only agencies looking to reduce their purchases from the water authority. Recycling projects like San Diego’s Pure Water, as well as similar efforts in East County and Oceanside, will also mean decreased revenue for the wholesaler.
While the water authority could lose about 20,000 acre-feet a year if Fallbrook and Rainbow join Eastern, its sales are expected to drop as much as 60,000 acre-feet a year over the next decade as a result of local recycling efforts. (One acre foot is enough water to cover one acre one foot deep or 325,851 gallons.)
The water authority is projected to lose nearly $100,000 in revenue for every acre-foot lost, according to a recent analysis by environmental economist Michael Hanemann, who called the situation “pretty dire.”
Charging north county agencies an exit fee to stop buying supplies from the water authority seems like a double standard to Jack Bebee, general manager of the Fallbrook Public Utility District.
“What LAFCO has proposed is to essentially make all the others complete for a period of five years,” he said. “It’s something that no other agency has when they develop their own water supplies and leave the water authority.”
LAFCO’s 13-member commission, currently chaired by County Supervisor Jim Desmond, is expected to vote on the issue in February. Your decision could be subject to legal challenges, particularly from the water authority. Ultimately, the issue would require a public vote in the Fallbrook and Rainbow service territories.
Water from the Colorado River is delivered to Mexico at the Morelos Dam, located 1.1 miles downstream from where the land boundary between California and Baja California intersects the river between the city of Los Algodones in northwestern Mexico and Yuma County. , Arizona.
Where does Fallbrook get its water?
FPUD imports water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project. Imported water is delivered by the San Diego County Water Authority, which is the largest single customer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Does Fallbrook have hard water? Tap water in Fallbrook, Oceanside, Temecula, Rainbow, and Vista is exceptionally hard. That means it has very high levels of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.
Where does San Diego get its water?
The City purchases approximately 85% to 90% of its water, which is imported from Northern California and the Colorado River.
Who supplies San Diego’s water?
Understand your water supply! 50% comes from the Colorado River (via the Colorado River Aqueduct). 30% comes from the CA State Water Project (the canal/aqueduct system throughout the state of California, imported primarily from Northern California). 20% comes from local water supply and conservation.
What percentage of San Diego water comes from the Colorado River?
About 50 percent of San Diego’s supply is water from the Colorado River that once went to Imperial.
Why is Fallbrook water so expensive?
FALLBROOK â Due in part to another increase in the cost of water by the San Diego County Water Authority, Fallbrook taxpayers will see their water bills increase in 2021. In May, the Water Authority’s board of directors voted to increase water costs in all 24 of its member water districts by approximately 5% effective January 1, 2021.
Is water expensive in Fallbrook CA?
This has come at a heavy cost to local residents, business owners, and our agricultural industry, which is the backbone of our economy. Today, the cost of water in San Diego County â including Fallbrook and Rainbow â is among the highest in the United States.
Why is San Diego water so expensive?
Politics aside, San Diego rates are high, in part due to its distance from major supplies. There are more than 250 miles between San Diego and its main source of water, the Colorado River, and 600 miles between San Diego and its second main source, the rivers of Northern California.
Is Fallbrook tap water safe to drink?
Is my water safe to drink? Yes. The water provided by FPUD meets or exceeds strict state and federal requirements for safe drinking water.
Is San Diego County tap water safe to drink? Drinking water quality in San Diego. In general, the quality of San Diego’s drinking water meets the regulatory requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that San Diego tap water is generally considered safe drinking water.
How Clean Is tap water in San Diego?
In short, the tap water in San Diego is still legally safe to drink, but to be on the safe side, an activated carbon filter such as TAPP could be used. TAPP removes TTHM, HAA and reduces Chromium 6 by 40-70%.
Is San Diego tap water filtered?
The Colorado River Aqueduct is connected to the State Water Project, which is the source of water for cities from San Francisco to San Diego. This water travels thousands of miles, then goes through various filtration processes to remove heavy particles and smaller particles.
What city has the cleanest tap water in California?
â€œA national research and lobbying group ranked Sacramentoâ€™s tap water as the best in California and 18th best in the country.
Do any celebrities live in Fallbrook CA?
Famous residents of the Fallbrook area include, former and current residents, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mustaine, Bill Goldberg, Bill Murray, Huey Lewis, Duke Snider, Frank Capra, John Wayne, Tony Hawk, Tom Selleck, Tori Spelling, Sandra Bullock, Jessy James, Edward Faulkner, Shane Peterson, Leo Howard, Martin Milner, Andre…