The board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority today approved a $436 million budget for fiscal year 2002 that allows the Water Authority to continue providing a safe, reliable water supply to the region. The Water Authority's fiscal year begins July 1. The budget consists of five major elements: water purchases, $222.6 million; Capital Improvement Program Annual Appropriation, $131.3 million; debt service, $54 million; the operating budget, $26.2 million; and equipment replacement, $1.9 million.
"The priorities established and the actions funded in this budget embody the Water Authority's commitment to work with its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to San Diego County residents and businesses," said Maureen Stapleton, Water Authority general manager. "Water reliability and fiscal responsibility have been our underlying themes throughout the budget process."
The $222.6 million water purchase budget - an increase of 8.6 percent from the previous year - is based upon projected purchases of 594,130 acre-feet of water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It accounts for 51.1 percent of the budget.
One acre-foot of water is approximately 326,000 gallons, enough to supply the needs of two typical households for a year.
The $131.3 million capital budget represents 30.1 percent of the total budget. It reflects this year's funding of the Capital Improvement Program, a $1.21 billion program to enhance and increase the operational flexibility of the Water Authority's water delivery system. Fifty-seven separate capital projects are planned this year, including several that are part of the Water Authority's Emergency Storage Project. The annual capital appropriation represents a 43.6 percent increase compared to the fiscal year 2001 budget.
The $54 million debt service budget goes toward paying principal and interest on debt the Water Authority incurred to finance the Capital Improvement Program. It increased by .6 percent from last year and represents 12.4 percent of the annual budget.
The operating budget of $26.2 million includes the aggregate budgets of all departments that serve to maintain the Water Authority's core mission programs. It increased 10.8 percent from the 2001 budget and represents 6 percent of the total budget.
The equipment replacement fund of $1.9 million pays for the annual depreciation expense for equipment and vehicles. It increased 7 percent from the prior year and represents 0.4 percent of the budget.
Total projected revenues and funding sources for fiscal year 2002 are $461.4 million. The largest source of revenues - 59.7 percent of the Water Authority's total revenues - is water sales. The Water Authority estimates that sales to its member agencies in the fiscal year will total 594,130 acre-feet. Water sales are projected to generate approximately $275.4 million. The Water Authority's board voted in May to increase water rates by $5 to $95 per acre-foot for municipal and industrial water users effective January 1, 2002. The water rate for certain agricultural users will remain at $80 per acre-foot.
The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from Northern California and the Colorado River. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to more than 2.9 million county residents.
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