Borrego Sun - Since 1949

WMB Rep Selection

 

Last updated 1/31/2020 at 4:14pm



In an agreement reached between negotiating parties to the recently released Stipulated Judgment and accompanying Groundwater Management Plan, the five-member Board of Directors at the Borrego Water District will make the selection of who is best-qualified to serve as our Community member on the Water Master Board.

Based on nominations of individuals, the BWD Board will review background information and qualifications for the job, but also hear from nominated applicants themselves at a public hearing, the date yet to be announced.

Public comments and responses related to the Stipulated Judgment were made available to the Borrego Sun, and while many topics are covered, the selection of a Community member to the Water Master Board, expected to be in place and functioning between mid-February and mid-March, was a popular subject.

Responses to Stipulated Judgment

Water Rights/Legal Process

#1: The amount of water production requested to be non-reducible is the annual amount of 22-acre feet stated in the July 13, 2018 allocation letter provided to the School District by the San Diego County Planning & Development Services department.

RESPONSE: Judgment Revised Accordingly, see section III.D.(2).

#3: All BWD Ratepayers will be indirectly obligated to pay much more for water service as a consequence of the BWD actions as Plaintiff leading to overwhelming and unsustainable cost. There is no provision in the proposal protecting the ratepayer from extended litigation as that litigation directly and indirectly govern the cost of water service afforded the ratepayer:

RESPONSE: Comment noted. BWD is not anticipating “overwhelming cost” as part of this process. It is anticipated that the adjudication will result in a stipulated judgment without significant litigation.

#3: Stipulated Judgment must include assurances that the individual ratepayer will be allowed to drill a De Minimus well in the future.

RESPONSE: Well drilling permit issuance remains a function of the County of San Diego. Also, de minimis pumpers are exempt from most provisions of the Stipulated Judgment, see section III.H.

#13: We propose that disadvantaged community water systems like Borrego Water District be exempt from mandatory reductions under the stipulated judgement, and instead be allowed to comply with laws and regulations that regulate residential water use, as they may be updated. We recommend that minimum usage be set at a level based on actual human needs and incorporating current best practices and available technology for water conservation.

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged

Include De Minimus pumpers in Stipulated Judgment requirements

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged: The Code of Civil Procedure provides the court with authority to make de minimis pumpers fully or partially subject to the judgment, or exempt, in the Court’s discretion, and absent a finding that the de minimis pumpers are causing significant harm, there is no basis for subjecting them to the Stipulated Judgment requirements. (See Water Code, § 10730(a); CCP § 833(d).)

Governance

#2: Community WM Board Member should be selected by the Community

#4.2: Community WM Board Member should be selected by Nominating Committee

#6: Community WM Board Member should be selected by BWD

#9: Community WM Board Member should be selected by Nominating Committee

#10: De Minimus Pumpers should have a seat on WM Board

#11: Lack of Environmental representation on Board

#13: WM Board should consist of seven-members without super majority

#13: WM Board should not select the Community Member

RESPONSE: The Stipulated Judgment has been revised accordingly to take into account concerns of community selection of Community Watermaster Board member. The BWD Board will make the selection of the WM Board Community after local organizations provide a slate of candidates and a public forum is held by the BWD.

#4.2: It is important for the Community Member and Alternate Member to be appointed/selected and seated for the first meeting of the Watermaster (WM) Board.

RESPONSE: WM Board Community Member will be seated as soon as practical, estimated to be Feb./March 2020.

#4 and #6: Community Member should have a budget of $10,000-$20,000/yr & staff and/or support equivalent to the staff and support the other members will have.

RESPONSE: Comment noted. The community member will be given authorization in the Judgment to appeal Watermaster decisions, see section VII.A.1. However, we are not aware of any judgments that compel Watermaster funds to be collected and directed to support any particular sector. Each party is responsible for their own costs.

#4.2: There should be a mechanism for the Watermaster Board Membership or weight of votes to shift over time to accommodate major changes in the percentages of water rights held by the participating sectors.

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged: While the court has authority to hear such a request and reformulate the WM Board in the future, if the court deemed appropriate, see Section VII.A., see section IV.

#8: Include language to include an alternative in the event the County Board of Supervisors declines to participate on the WM Board.

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged: BWD feels County involvement on the WM Board is essential.

#11: WM Board should include a permanent Environmental Representative or a rotation of appointees representing the interests outside the influence of the other members already sitting on the Board.

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged: Audubon Society, and others, could get involved in the existing nomination process by encouraging candidates with the desired knowledge and experience to apply.

#11, #12 and #13: The Environmental Working Groups (EWG) roles/duties should be elaborated

RESPONSE: Comment Acknowledged: The Stipulation requires the formation of the EWG, and the BWD will ensure the WM Board creates the EWG to meet the environmental interests affected by the Basin.

#12: Avoid the potential of allowing a minority of members to make WM Board decisions.

RESPONSE: Stipulated Judgment revised accordingly to require at least three affirmative votes on all matters not requiring a Supermajority, see section IV.B.2.

Full article in the Jan. 9 issue of the Borrego Sun.

 
 

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