Last week the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) board DID NOT take the action that many local water agencies, including Escondido’s had feared, i.e. adopting a Fixed Treatment Charge.
On April 12 the MWD board voted not to implement the fixed treatment charge at least for a 2-year period. MWD rates are going up, effective January 1, 2017, but not to the degree that had been discussed.
As one local water district executive declared, “We dodged a bullet up there, at least for awhile.”
Had MWD imposed this Fixed Treated Water Charge, local treated rates could have gone up by as much as 87%. Some local growers had said that if the increase had come through for 2017 that they were done farming.
Last week San Diego County Water Authority Chairman Mark Weston reacted to the defeat of the plan, which he attributed to so many protests from far and wide in San Diego.
“Thank you for your time, energy and leadership that helped the San Diego region on Tuesday defeat a damaging water rate proposal by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It was a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work together for the good of our community, and it could not have been achieved without letters from you and others demanding accountability by MWD. Of the 103 letters received by MWD protesting its proposed rate and tax increases, 100 came from San Diego County civic and business leaders, public officials and ratepayers,” wrote Weston.
“Dozens of business and civic leaders wrote letters to MWD’s board or joined us at MWD’s board meeting in Los Angeles seeking fair and legal rates, transparency and prudent fiscal practices. MWD’s board voted against a proposal that would have created excessive costs for the San Diego region, increasing our water treatment cost in 2017 by 77 percent due to a new fixed charge. Instead, MWD voted to retain its current practice for assessing the costs of water treatment and agreed to form a work group to study alternative ways to recoup its costs for water treatment in future years.”
Weston added, “Even with this victory, there’s more work to do. The MWD board approved rates for 2017- 18 using methodology ruled illegal by a superior court judge. In a final judgment, the court invalidated MWD’s rates for 2011-14 and ordered MWD to pay the SDCWA $243 million in damages, fees, costs and interest. This overcharging will cost ratepayers more than $134 million in 2017-18. SDCWA will not idly stand by and allow this to happen without further litigation.”
If you would like to know more about fair water rates, or how you can get involved, SDCWA Chairman Mark Weston invites you to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.