Detachment Creates Threat to Regional Water Strategy
In September 2020, the Water Authority filed a formal response to address a proposal by the Fallbrook and Rainbow water districts to detach from the Water Authority and annex into Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County. Those proposals, if approved, would increase costs for other water ratepayers in San Diego County, reduce the county’s voting power at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and decrease water supply reliability for ratepayers in Fallbrook and Rainbow.
A detailed filing with the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) spelled out how the Fallbrook and Rainbow detachment proposals contained significant areas of misleading or incomplete information that must be addressed before LAFCO and all of the interested parties countywide to understand the full scope of impacts that would be created by detachment.
The Water Authority’s analysis shows that detachment, as proposed, would reduce water reliability and increase risk for Rainbow and Fallbrook customers, create environmental impacts that haven’t been studied, and impair the successful long-term planning efforts that have served San Diego County well. It would also give Riverside County water agencies more influence over San Diego County’s water future, including water rate and property tax impacts.
“As proposed, the detachments would allow Fallbrook and Rainbow to avoid paying for water supplies and infrastructure that have been developed in collaboration with those agencies and are currently being used by those agencies to meet their customers’ needs. Abandoning those cost obligations would force other ratepayers countywide to cover their portion of the bills already incurred for decades of investments in supply reliability.”