With the recession and the COVID-19 pandemic causing economic havoc nationally and across Southern California, the Water Authority has adopted several cost-cutting strategies and it’s asking the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to do the same.
When the Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved its 2021 rates in June, it limited rate increases to 4.8-4.9% – and more than 60% of that rate increase is directly attributable to MWD. The Water Authority Board also directed staff to return this fall with any other cost savings, specifically, any pass-through savings from MWD.
So far, MWD’s Board has directed agency staff to look for cost-cutting measures – but MWD staff is proposing not to offer further rate relief. In contrast, the Water Authority froze hiring, limited travel and training, and delayed equipment replacement, among other efforts.
Now, the Water Authority is asking MWD to take a similar approach, recognizing that many water agencies across Southern California are facing significant financial pressure due to unpaid bills by residents and their own efforts to provide rate relief. MWD has an opportunity to help millions of ratepayers by reducing expenses without materially impacting water service.
The Water Authority isn’t prescribing solutions for MWD, just asking that the nation’s largest water agency help its customers and pledging that any rate relief MWD provides will be passed directly to 24 member agencies in San Diego County.
Click here to read an August 2020 letter from Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer to MWD.