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Providing Safe, Reliable, Affordable Water

Safe, reliable and affordable water is a fundamental public service provided by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. Everything at the Water Authority is designed to seek the lowest possible rates while maintaining a safe and reliable water system.

Water affordability requires coordinated efforts by all levels of government agencies – federal, state, wholesale and retail – because they all play a role in the investments and infrastructure that transports, treats and delivers water to homes and businesses. Historically, federal and state investments have helped cover costs for ratepayers; in recent decades, retail and wholesale agencies have borne more of the costs and that has hit ratepayers in the pocket book.

Major Strides in Affordability

In recent years, the Water Authority has enhanced affordability while ensuring reliability during the worst drought in more than 1,200 years:

  • $25 million secured from the State of California to pay water bills for San Diego County residents impacted by COVID-19 
  • $90 million secured through successful litigation efforts and distributed directly to 24 retail agencies in San Diego County 
  • Saved hundreds of millions of dollars in future costs of water deliveries 
  • Helped secure financial aid for low-income water customers  
  • Maintained strong credit ratings that reduce the cost of infrastructure 
  • Saved more than $250 million by refinancing debt 
  • Developed a best-in-class Asset Management Program to proactively address system upgrades and avoid costly failures 
  • Controlled rate increases at 3-4% a year  

Looking to the Future

The Water Authority works closely with state and federal government, wholesale water agencies, and local water retailers to find solutions to the complex challenges related to water costs, rates, and investments. In addition to convening state and federal leaders on this issue, the Water Authority is pursuing several avenues to promote affordability: 

  • Ramping up advocacy for state and federal investments in water supply projects, which have declined significantly in recent decades 
  • Working collaboratively with local community organizations along with state and federal leaders to craft a low-income assistance program that meets the region’s diverse needs 
  • Working with retail member agencies to assess different rate structures for 2024 and beyond 
  • Hosting discussions with key federal, state, regional and local agencies to promote affordability  
  • Developing alternative revenue sources, such as the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility  
  • Attracting and retaining highly skilled staff to ensure the viability of the regional water delivery system for generations