BWD: Town Hall, Rate Changes
Last updated 6/3/2021 at 12:50pm
On May 20, the Borrego Water District held its annual Town Hall webinar about “all things water.” A range of topics were covered including Operational Accomplishments during 2020 – 21, the recent Groundwater Adjudication Judgment and last but not least, proposed rate adjustments (effective 10-21).
Following over one year of analysis, BWD Board, Staff and Nationwide Consultants Raftelis Financial Consultants completed a comprehensive Rate Study in compliance with Proposition 218 regulations, requiring all public agencies to justify water and sewer rate/charge increases in five year cycles and show how the money will be spent. Following Cost of Service principles in 218, beneficiaries of all expenses must pay its fair share.
The most significant recommendation of the proposed rate structure is a reduction in fixed and variable rates on water used for “basic essential needs.” Essential water use, defined as Tier 1 @ $3.59/unit (-10% from current rate), is the water needed for normal indoor use which includes the use of evaporative (aka swamp) coolers. For those single family homes with essential water use, consumption will be billed in Tier 1 only and the
water bill will be lower next year than it is currently.
Tier 2 is moderate water use and includes normal indoor use plus moderate landscape irrigation. Single family homes in Tier 2 @ $4.51/unit (+2.2% from current rate) should expect next year’s water bill to be virtually the same as this year’s. Finally, a new Tier 3 @ $5.20 is proposed for all additional water use, such as for extensive landscape irrigation or swimming pools. The new Tier 3 is being proposed to help BWD recover its cost for those customers who create the highest demands (peak) upon the system.
Rates for Multi Family and Commercial accounts are proposed to be $4.49/unit (+5.8%) and irrigation accounts $4.70/unit (+9.7%). As with the Tier 3 residential rates, BWD must incur additional cost to meet high peak irrigation demands, which is reflected in the proposed Irrigation rates. BWD will be meeting with the irrigation customers, especially Christmas Circle, to discuss ways to minimize the economic impact from the proposed rate increase. Rates are proposed to be increased by 5% per year for the next five years.
A similar comprehensive financial and operational analysis of sewer expenses was performed, and rates are proposed to remain unchanged next year followed by four years of 4% fee/charge increases. The BWD Board is planning a Public Hearing in July prior to considering the rate increases. A notice to all Property Owners will be distributed in the coming weeks to inform the Public of the upcoming Hearing.
Other topics covered at the Town Hall included Operational accomplishments including completion of well 4-9, drilling of well 5-15, Flying J and De Anza pipelines, 60+ fire hydrant replacements and upgrades to well head piping and electrical connections. An update on the Groundwater Adjudication was also provided and focused on the new role of the Watermaster Board in future Basin operations. A recording of the event is available on the BWD website and contact Geoff Poole at BWD for more information.