colorado river aerial view

Water Authority Partners with MWD

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) water comes from the Colorado River via the Colorado River Aqueduct and Northern California rivers via the State Water Project. The blend of the two sources fluctuates depending on hydrologic conditions and how MWD operates its system. 

The last year San Diego County had a sufficient supply of water to meet the demands of its growing population was 1946. Lacking adequate local water resources, the Water Authority joined the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in late 1946 to gain a connection to the Colorado River to meet the needs of the post-war, booming San Diego region. As part of this agreement, the San Diego region’s Colorado River water rights were transferred to MWD as part of the requirements for annexation.  In 1960, MWD threw its support behind the new State Water Project and received its first deliveries by 1972.

MWD Board

MWD is governed by a 38-member Board of Directors, representing each of the District’s 26 member agencies.  The Water Authority has four designated Delegates on its Board of Directors who represent the Water Authority’s interests at MWD and, as MWD Board members, govern the agency. In their capacity as MWD Board members, they host facility inspection tours.

The Water Authority’s Delegates

Jerry Butkiewicz

Date Seated on Board: August 2018

Current MWD Committee Appointments:
• Member – Audit and Ethics Committee; Communications and Legislation Committee

Biography:
Director Butkiewicz was appointed to the Water Authority’s Board of Directors in 2016 to represent the City of San Diego.

Butkiewicz began his career as a U.S. postal clerk and member of the American Postal Workers Union in Phoenix. In 1980, he and his family moved to California, where he was elected president of the local APWU and worked at an Oceanside post office. From 1982 to 1995, he worked as the labor liaison at the San Diego United Way. In 1996, Butkiewicz was elected secretary-treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, a post he held until 2008. He then accepted a position as workforce readiness manager for Sempra Energy, from which he retired in 2016. Butkiewicz resides in San Diego with his wife and children.

Michael T. Hogan

Date Seated on Board: September 2013

Current MWD Committee Appointments:
• Chair – Real Property and Asset Management Committee
• Member – Executive Committee; Audit and Ethics Committee; Bay-Delta Committee; Conservation and Local Resources Committee; Organization, Personnel and Technology Committee; Water Planning and Stewardship Committee

Biography:
Director Hogan has served on the Santa Fe Irrigation District’s Board of Directors since 2002. He has represented the district on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors since 2006. Hogan retired in 2009 after a 40-year career in the wastewater industry. He served as general manager of the Encina Wastewater Authority from 1998 to 2009. He has been an active member of the California Water Environment Association for 50 years, including serving as statewide president from 1996 to 1997.

Hogan served as director and executive committee member for the Water Environment Federation and director for the Southern California Alliance of Public-Owned Treatment Work. Additionally, he was involved in California’s Water Quality Control Institute, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority Citizen Advisory Committee on water reclamation, San Diego Clean Water Program, and Palomar College Water and Wastewater Technology Advisory Committee. Hogan earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and an associate’s degree in wastewater technology from Palomar College. He is a Grade V certified wastewater treatment plant operator.

S. Gail Goldberg

Date Seated on Board: March 2019

Current MWD Committee Appointments:
• Member – Finance and Insurance Committee; Integrated Resources Plan Special Committee; Legal and Claims Committee; Water Planning and Stewardship Committee

Biography:
Director Goldberg does not serve on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors but was appointed by the Board to serve as one of its Delegates to MWD. She retired in 2018 after eight years as the executive director of Los Angeles’ Urban Land Institute and brings with her more than 20 years of city planning experience. Before joining Urban Land Institute, she was the director of the Los Angeles City Planning Department from 2006 to 2010, where she was responsible for directing policies and activities of the department, including the development, maintenance and implementation of the city’s General Plan and other special zoning plans.

Before her Los Angeles position, she spent 17 years with the City of San Diego’s Planning Department, where she was planning director from 2000 to 2005 and oversaw a process to update the city’s 20-year-old general plan. Goldberg has a degree in urban studies and planning from the University of California, San Diego. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Southern California’s Center for Sustainable Cities and USC Price’s School Master of Planning Program. She also served as a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and as Chair of the San Diego/Tijuana Urban Land Institute District Council.

Tim Smith

Date Seated on Board: March 2019

Current MWD Committee Appointments:
• Chair – Engineering and Operations Committee
• Member –Executive Committee; Audit and Ethics Committee; Communications and Legislation Committee; Finance and Insurance Committee; Integrated Resources Plan Special Committee; Legal and Claims Committee; Organization, Personnel and Technology Committee; Real Property and Asset Management Committee

Biography:
Director Smith has served as the Otay Water District’s Board of Directors representative on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors since 2017. Smith served as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and taught water courses in the civil, construction, and environmental engineering department. He currently serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Board.

He began his career as an engineer for Black & Veatch and Parsons Corp. before shifting to the public sector as senior civil engineer for the Water Authority. He then worked as a principal engineer for Helix Water District. Smith graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from San Diego State University and is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Water Works Association.

Relationship With MWD

Delivery Agreement

To improve the region’s water reliability, the Water Authority launched its diversification effort in the late 1990s. In 2003, as part of the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the Water Authority began receiving its independently obtained Colorado River supplies through water conservation and transfer agreements. The Water Authority pays MWD to transport these independent supplies to San Diego County through a delivery agreement in addition to paying for its MWD supply purchases. While the Water Authority still purchases Colorado River and State Water Project water from MWD, the Water Authority launched its diversification effort in the late 1990s to improve the region’s water reliability.

Water Supply

The Metropolitan Water District Act legally entitles each member agency to a preferential right to purchase a certain amount of MWD’s supplies. Under Section 135, each MWD member agency has a preferential right to a percentage of MWD’s available water supplies based on the member’s past payments toward MWD’s capital and operating costs, excluding payments for water purchases.  As of June 30, 2020, the Water Authority has preferential right to 25.83 percent of MWD’s water supply. (Preferential rights are updated annually.)  For comparison, in fiscal year 2020, the Water Authority purchased about 6% of the water MWD sold.

As part of rulings on landmark litigation that was initiated in 2010, courts found that MWD under-calculated the Water Authority’s statutory water right, or preferential right to MWD water.  As a result of the recalculation, the Water Authority’s preferential right to MWD water increased by approximately 100,000 acre-feet of additional MWD water annually – about twice the production of the $1 billion Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Seawater Desalination Plant.  This same litigation also resulted in savings of $45 million since the court also found that MWD illegally charged “water stewardship” fees on its transportation rates. Ultimately, this litigation has yielded several benefits for San Diego County ratepayers. “San Diego prevailed, and the judgment not only benefits its own ratepayers but all of the nearly 19 million people in Metropolitan’s service area because enforcing cost-of-service principles serves the interests of all ratepayers,” said Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo in her Jan. 13, 2021 order, which can be appealed.

Policy

As MWD’s largest financial contributor, the Water Authority promotes policies at MWD that embrace transparent governance and fiscal responsibility, create equity among MWD member agencies, and facilitate the efficient and optimal use of resources. The Water Authority’s MWD Program advises the agency’s Board officers and MWD Delegates in developing and implementing strategies to achieve the Water Authority’s water resiliency and fiscal goals at MWD.

The MWD Program staff works closely with other Water Authority departments to analyze MWD programs and policies and their impacts on the Water Authority’s management strategies and operations. Program staff also collaborates with MWD board members, MWD member agencies, staff and other stakeholders to advance the Water Authority’s positions at MWD.