Water authority revises rate structure

Short Title
Water authority revises rate structure
July 01, 2002

The board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority approved a new system of rates and charges to fairly allocate the costs of providing water and other services to member agencies. The new rate structure is divided into categories to specifically address the different services supplied to member agencies which buy water from the Authority. It will be effective Jan. 1, 2003.

"The Water Authority's new rate structure was designed to better meet the unique needs of our member agencies," says James F. Turner, board chairman. "By sub-dividing the rate structure into four categories, we can accommodate certain member agencies that take Authority water without using Authority transportation facilities for a portion of those deliveries." The cost categories are sub-divided into customer service, storage, transportation and supply.

The customer service charge is set to recover costs that are necessary to support the Authority's programs and policies that benefit the region as a whole. This includes certain flow control facilities, system security, pipeline maintenance, ongoing conservation programs and more. This fixed charge will be allocated to member agencies based upon their share of a three-year rolling average of all deliveries through the Authority's system.

The storage charge is levied to recover costs that are associated with the Emergency Storage Project. The Emergency Storage Project is a system of reservoirs, pipelines and other facilities that will work together to store and move water around the county.

The transportation rate is a uniform rate set to recover capital, operating and maintenance costs of the Authority's aqueduct system, including all facilities used to physically transport the water to member agency meters. The transportation rate is charged on each acre-foot of water 
that is delivered through the Authority's pipelines.

Presently the sole component of the supply charge is the costs of obtaining water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). MWD's recent adoption of a new rate structure necessitates changes in the manner that Authority members are billed for imported water and services. Based on MWD's new method, agricultural customers will enjoy a significant savings due to the fact that agricultural deliveries will no longer be factored into their readiness-to-serve charge. In the future, the Water Authority's supply charge may also include purchases of water from the Imperial Irrigation District and other transfers or supplies.

The rate structure change will not change the total revenues collected by the Water Authority. Allocations to member agencies, however, will be adjusted. Some agencies will see a savings over prior years, while others will experience a slight increase. The goal is greater equity for all.

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 almost three million county residents.

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