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|Judge Orders MWD to Produce Documents in Water Rate Challenge|
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer has ordered the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to immediately begin producing documents relating to MWD's 2011 and 2012 water rates. The San Diego County Water Authority has sought documents it believes will show that MWD's 2011 and 2012 rates do not meet the requirements of California law and do not reflect the actual, reasonable or proportional cost of providing services to the Water Authority.
The September 5 court hearing was a continuation of an August 3 hearing, in which Judge Kramer again rejected MWD's arguments that the Water Authority was entitled to no discovery in the case. For the past eight months, MWD has vigorously tried to avoid any discovery in the case, filing numerous legal challenges to the court's January 6, 2012 ruling that granted discovery, including a writ petition with California's 1st Appellate District Court of Appeal. MWD's writ was summarily denied by the Court of Appeal in April.
"We are pleased that the court reaffirmed once again that reasonable discovery is appropriate and necessary for a full review of the facts in this case, including a review of MWD's water rates and rate-setting process," said Daniel Purcell, special counsel for the Water Authority with the law firm of Keker and Van Nest, San Francisco. "We look forward to finally receiving documents from MWD and the other parties in the lawsuit that will show that MWD's water rates are arbitrary, discriminatory, and fail to meet the requirements of California law. Discovery is a good first step in the direction of moving the case forward toward a resolution. "
For more information on the latest hearing, click here.
For details on the lawsuit regarding 2011 and 2012 rates, click here.
For more information on the lawsuit regarding 2013 and 2014 rates, click here.
|Seawater Desalination Public Meetings Now Set for Sept. 20 and Oct. 2|
Final negotiations are continuing between the San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Resources on a 30-year agreement to purchase water from the proposed Carlsbad Seawater Desalination Project. Because the draft agreement is not yet complete, the Water Authority is moving back the schedule for hosting two evening public meetings dedicated to receiving public comment on the document.
The public meeting originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Water Authority's offices at 4677 Overland Avenue in Kearny Mesa will now take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2. The public meeting at the Carlsbad Senior Center (799 Pine Avenue) is still scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20.
"We want to make sure we give our community enough time to read and digest this large and important document before these public meetings, so they can come fully informed and ready to share their thoughts," Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton said.
Once negotiations are complete, the Water Authority will release the draft water purchase agreement for public review and open a 60-day public review period. The board is expected to take action on the agreement later this fall.
If approved and built, the Carlsbad plant would produce up to 56,000 acre-feet of desalinated seawater per year, enough to serve 112,000 households of four people.
More information on the proposed project is available here.
| Board Chair Michael T. Hogan Discusses Cost-Cutting Measures|
The Water Authority is committed to providing the San Diego region with a safe and reliable water supply as efficiently as possible. We understand the concern the community has about the rising cost of water, especially in these challenging economic times.
This week, Board Chair Michael T. Hogan posted an open letter to the community on the Water Authority's website, sdcwa.org, sharing the steps taken agency wide to control costs in recent years.
The letter discusses pushing for lower rate increases from the region's largest imported supplier, making cuts to the Water Authority's staff and operating budgets, to reducing financing costs for capital projects, and more.
| Countywide Poll Shows Support for Investments in Water Supply Diversification|
San Diego County residents' support funding for seawater desalination and other supply options to ensure water reliablity for our region has increased compared to last year, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Water Authority.
The poll surveyed more than 800 residents countywide. Among the notable findings:
- 62 percent agreed that increases in water rates were necessary to maintain the reliability of the region's water supply, while 33 percent felt increased rates to pay for reliability projects were not necessary and should be stopped. This represents a shift from the Water Authority's 2011 survey, in which 40 percent of residents agreed additional rate increases were necessary to maintain water reliability while 49 percent disagreed.
- 58 percent of county residents are willing to pay at least an additional $5 or more per month as part of their water bill to add seawater desalination to the region's water supply mix.
- 54 percent of respondents said the cost of water is fair and reasonable, up from 40 percent in 2011. Forty three percent thought the cost of water was too expensive, a decrease from 55 percent in 2011.
- Public concern about rising water rates remains about the same as in 2011. Sixty four percent of those surveyed indicated they are very or somewhat concerned about future increases. The 2011 survey found 61 percent were somewhat or very concerned.
For more highlights of the public opinion poll, click here
For full poll results, click here