Water Authority Upholds Water Contract that Provides Local Supplies to Vallecitos

In 2015, the Water Authority provided an opportunity for its retail member agencies to purchase additional treated water supplies that would protect their service areas in times of drought and other water supply shortages. The Vallecitos Water District, which serves residents and businesses in Carlsbad and San Marcos, decided to purchase this additional local supply.

Watch: Interview with retired Water Authority water resources director about the Vallecitos treated water contract

For the ratepayers of Vallecitos, the agreement was a significant step toward water supply security because it gave them major new local water supply and a priority right to a contracted amount of treated water from the Water Authority – and the Water Authority has made good on its commitments to provide Vallecitos with a high-quality treated water supply since the contract was signed.

After months of meetings with Water Authority leadership and staff, Vallecitos has filed sued the Water Authority claiming that the contract entitles them to 100% water from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. When the contract was developed, it was presented as a treated water contract – not a desalinated water contract – to Vallecitos executives and to the Water Authority’s Board of Directors, which includes a representative from Vallecitos.

The Treated Water Delivery Contract signed by the two agencies in 2015 is clear: “The parties acknowledge that the water provided by the Water Authority under the uniform contracts will be treated water from any source determined by the Water Authority at its sole discretion. …”

Vallecitos concedes the contract terms in its marketing materials, in which Vallecitos calls on the Water Authority to “amend the long-term contract agreement to ensure Vallecitos receives what they pay for.” If the contract was for desalinated water, as Vallecitos claims, why would the district want it to be amended?

Water Authority executives and Board officers sought to resolve this issue through mediation and negotiation instead of litigation. For instance, the Water Authority offered to consider some new provisions requested by Vallecitos, but Vallecitos didn’t respond.

The Water Authority values Vallecitos as a long-term partner in providing a safe, reliable water supply for the region. In that spirit, the Water Authority will continue to work with Vallecitos to try and resolve the issue.