WaterSource New Masthead


January 2012     
In This Issue
MWD Rate Case Update
Join us at Water Talks on January 31
First Snow Survey Driest on Record
Bay-Delta Conveyance Financing
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San Diego County Water Authority

Courts Grant Discovery in
Rate Case Against MWD

On Friday, January 6, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge  granted discovery in the Water Authority's water rate case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Over MWD's objections, Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that the Water Authority and other interested parties in the lawsuit can conduct discovery to look into bias or corruption at MWD that could be used at trial to show the rates were set to discriminate against the Water Authority. The Imperial Irrigation District and the Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) have joined the case as interested parties on the Water Authority's behalf.

Over MWD's objections, Judge Kramer also denied without prejudice MWD's motion to conduct the trial in multiple phases, saying he will consider how the case should be tried after the parties complete discovery.  The January 6 rulings were the continuation of a January 4 hearing in which the judge ruled on whether several new causes of action could be added to the Water Authority's lawsuit. The judge allowed three of the new claims to be added. These include: a claim for breach of contract; challenging a punitive contract clause that denies San Diego County ratepayers access to local water resource development and conservation funding as retribution for filing a lawsuit; and asking the court to mandate an accurate accounting of the Water Authority's Preferential Rights to buy water during times of limited supply.    


The lawsuit, originally filed in June 2010, challenges MWD's water rates for 2011 and 2012.  The next court hearing is scheduled for February 17, 2012.


For more details on the rate case and latest updates, click here.  


Keeping the Region's Water Supply
Safe and Secure: Learn More at
Free Forum on Jan. 31

 Water Talks

Keeping the San Diego region's water supplies safe and secure can be a challenge when you rely heavily on far-away water resources and live at the end of the pipeline. Learn more about plans to provide water to the region in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, and how our pipelines are being maintained. Join the Water Authority for an informative discussion on our area's water infrastructure at our next "Water Talks" community forum, co-hosted by the South County Economic Development Council.  


When:      Tuesday, January 31, 5 to 7 p.m.

Where:     Chula Vista Civic Branch Library

          365 F Street, Chula Vista

Speakers: Michael T. Hogan, Board Chair

  Frank Belock, Deputy General Manager

  John Galleher, Operational Planning Manager


This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Light refreshments will be served.       


Click here for more information and to RSVP.  



First Snow Survey of 2012
Driest on Record 


DWR Snow Survey 


The Department of Water Resources' snow survey reports that California's mountain snowpack is among the driest for the date on record. The survey was done on January 3 and statewide water content was at 19 percent of average.

DWR's initial estimate is that the State Water Project will be able to deliver 60 percent of the slightly more than 4 million acre-feet of water requested by the 29 public agencies that supply more than 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of irrigated farmland.

While the snow survey was disappointing, the San Diego region does not need to worry about water shortages at this time.

"We had a very dry December, but there are still several months to go before the end of the winter cycle," said Bob Yamada, water resources manager. "Although we currently have plenty of water in storage, we always need to make sure we are using water efficiently. These variations in weather underscore the need to invest in projects, such as the San Vicente Dam raise, which will improve our region's water supply reliability when inevitable dry years occur."


Click here for more information on the snow survey.   



Bay-Delta Conveyance
Financing Questioned

Bay Delta

Some 27 million Californians, including the 3.1 million residents of San Diego County, rely on the Bay-Delta in Northern California for a portion of their water supply.  The Water Authority's Bay-Delta supply is purchased from its primary imported water supplier, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  


As studies and plans to achieve water supply reliability and environmental restoration for the Bay-Delta proceed, many elected officials, water managers and community groups are questioning how the project will be financed. Recently, in an article in the Ventura County Star newspaper, Fixing the Delta: How much are Southern California water users willing to pay?, Water Authority Assistant General Manager Dennis Cushman, along with California State Senator Lois Wolk, raised important issues about the cost of a new conveyance system, and whether water ratepayers are willing to pay for it.  The cost is currently estimated to be somewhere around $11 to $25 billion, which would be borne by the water agencies that purchase water from the State Water Project.  


As the largest State Water Project contractor, MWD has promised to pay 25 percent of the cost of a new Bay-Delta water conveyance project. As MWD's largest customer - about 25 percent of MWD's revenues come from the Water Authority's ratepayers - the Water Authority would be paying for a large portion of MWD's obligations. The Water Authority supports a Bay-Delta fix, yet critical questions remain about future demands for water from the Bay-Delta, project costs and whether or not water agencies will make binding, long-term commitments to pay for the project.  


Over the past several months, the Water Authority's Board of Directors has been listening to diverse views from experts and stakeholders on the Bay-Delta.  These updates will continue during its next board meeting, on January 26.


To learn more about the Bay-Delta planning process, visit http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Home.aspx



Tune into "Channel H2O" for Videos on Regional Water Issues

How large are the Water Authority's pipelines? What are the top water issues of 2012? How much does a gallon of wholesale tap water cost?

The Water Authority is producing short videos on these subjects and many more for "Channel H2o," a new online resource to help the public understand our regional water system and issues affecting our region's water supply.

Viewers can see the videos several ways. Channel H2O videos are automatically posted to the Water Authority's "Water News" smarttphone app (click here to download the app).
 Links to the latest videos also are available at
www.sdcwa.org under "Recent News," and the complete set of videos is available at:

The WAter Authority is also encouraging the public to send in questions on issues to be explained in future videos. Send in your suggestions for future video topics to info@sdcwa.org or post a note on our Facebook page.

The San Diego County Water Authority works through its 24 member agencies to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the region's $186 billion economy and quality of life of 3.1 million residents.