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January 2013    
In This Issue
Seawater Desalination Financing
Water Talks: Bay-Delta
Turf Replacement Program
Mobile App
MWD Rate Challenge
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San Diego County Water Authority

Seawater Desalination Project Construction Begins Following Successful Close of Project Financing

 Desal construction
Grading at the site of the Carlsbad Desalination Project, next to
NRG Energy's Encina Power Station.

Project financing for the Carlsbad Desalination Project closed in December, bringing with it $734 million in tax-exempt bond financing. Initial grading and preparation for heavy construction has also begun on the nation's largest seawater desalination plant.

On December 13, 2012 the Water Authority and private developer Poseidon Resources sold bonds to finance the project at an interest rate of 4.78 percent, lower than earlier estimates. That rate will help save an estimated $200 million over three decades and lower the cost of water from the project by about 5 percent.

A joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. and J.F. Shea Construction will design and build the Carlsbad plant, as well as the Water Authority's 10-mile pipeline connecting the plant to the existing aqueduct. Israel-based IDE Technologies will design the advanced water treatment system for desalination and run the facility for Poseidon, bringing decades of experience on similar projects around the world. 


Pipeline construction begins this spring in San Marcos, where desalinated seawater will enter the Water Authority's system for blending with other imported water supplies. The 10-mile pipeline will be constructed in phases, moving from east to west. Poseidon Resources will held an open house to discuss construction on Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Alvin Dunn Elementary School in San Marcos. Stay up to date on the latest news on construction of the plant and pipeline via social media. You can like the Carlsbad Desalination Project on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @CarlsbadDesal


If your organization would like a presentation on the Carlsbad Desalination Project, please contact Jessica Jones at jjones@poseidon1.com or 760-655-3998.



Click here for more details about project financing.

Click here for more details about the Carlsbad Desalination Project. 

Click here for a local news story about the desalination project.    


Next Water Talks Forum to Address Bay-Delta 
Speakers to Discuss Bay-Delta Fix and
Impacts to Water Supply and Rates 
Bay Delta  

The San Diego region receives up to 30 percent of its water supply annually from the Bay-Delta via the State Water Project. Those supplies have become increasingly unreliable in recent years as deteriorating ecological conditions have led to regulatory restrictions on pumping water south.

Addressing the water supply and environmental issues will cost billions of dollars. There is an important debate on the best way to move forward. Many key questions still remain, including how much it will cost, how big of a project is needed and who will commit to pay for it.

To learn more about how these issues will impact our region's water supply and rates, join our conversation with Water Authority experts and Barry Nelson from the Natural Resources Defense Council at our next Water Talks Forum:

Wednesday, February 20
5 to 7 p.m.
Sempra Energy Headquarters
101 Ash Street, San Diego 92101
Auditorium 1 

Additional details for this free community event will be announced soon. Visit our website for more information or contact Teresa Penunuri at 858-522-6708.
Want to Take Out Your Turf?  
WaterSmart Turf Replacement Incentives are Available!  
Wirants' residence (after)
WaterSmart landscapes are beautiful and water-efficient.   

Water conservation is a way of life in San Diego County, and the Water Authority has launched a new program to help encourage water-efficient landscapes. The WaterSmart Turf Replacement incentive program offers $1.50 per square foot to help pay for plants and irrigation equipment for your front or side yard.

The incentive is a part of our WaterSmart initiative which emphasizes ways to live a water-efficient lifestyle. About half of the water used at the typical home is for landscaping. A WaterSmart landscape can cut outdoor water use by up to 70 percent through a combination of proper plant selection, irrigation technology and maintenance.

Qualifying residents can receive up to $3,000 for their project, with businesses and public agencies eligible for up to $9,000. The money is being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There are several restrictions designed to ensure the money will generate the most water savings possible. Visit the turf replacement website for all details.

The WaterSmart Turf Replacement incentive program is made possible by an Integrated Regional Water Management grant from the state Department of Water Resources and a grant from the federal Bureau of Reclamation. 
Have You Taken our Mobile App
Out for a Test Drive Yet? 




The San Diego County Water Authority's "Water News" mobile app delivers timely and informative news from the Water Authority and the water world to your smartphone and tablet. If you haven't had a chance to take the app for a test drive yet, you can download it at www.sdcwa.org/mobile-news-app.


If you have already downloaded the app, let us know what you think of it by taking this brief, eight-question survey which takes about five minutes to complete:



The survey closes on Monday, February 4, 2013.


Perhaps you know someone who would benefit from using the water news app. If so, please share the link to the app on your Facebook page or "tweet" it to your followers!



MWD Rate Challenge Update
 Alleged Violations of Proposition 26 Added to Lawsuit


On January 15, a Superior Court judge granted the Water Authority's motion to amend a lawsuit against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.


San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow ruled that the Water Authority is entitled to allege violations of Proposition 26 in its challenge of MWD's 2011 and 2012 rates.  The Water Authority has already alleged MWD violated Prop. 26 in a related lawsuit contesting MWD's 2013 and 2014 rates.


Prop. 26, approved by voters in 2010, prohibits government agencies such as MWD from imposing rates and charges that exceed the cost of the services for which those rates are charged.  It also requires that the rates charged to individuals be proportional to the benefits received from the government activity.  Prop. 26 also places the burden on the government agency of proving that its rates meet these criteria.   

The Water Authority has filed two legal challenges against MWD that present common factual and legal claims. Each case asserts that MWD's rates assign water supply costs to water transportation rates in violation of state law and the state constitution. Both cases also allege that the water rates set by MWD discriminate against the Water Authority by artificially inflating the price charged for "wheeling" (or transporting) water through MWD's pipes if it is purchased from a water supplier other than MWD.

The Water Authority purchases water from the Imperial Irrigation District and receives other independent water supplies from relining the All-American and Coahcella canals. The Water Authority is the only MWD member agency that uses the pipelines MWD controls to transport a large volume of third-party water each year. The stakes in the two court cases are high for San Diego County water ratepayers. Under MWD's current scheme, local water ratepayers will be overcharged  this year by $57 million. By 2021, the overcharges could grow to more than $217 million annually.

The first rate challenge was filed in June 2010, after MWD set its 2011 and 2012 rates.  The Water Authority filed a second complaint in June 2012 after MWD set rates for 2013 and 2014 that were based on the same flawed cost-of-service methodology as the first action.  The second lawsuit was necessary because MWD's foot-dragging in the first lawsuit has delayed its resolution.  The court agreed to coordinate the cases for case management purposes.


The next hearing on the case will take place in April, and the Water Authority hopes that the case will be in trial by the end of the year.     


For more information on the MWD Rate challenge, click here.   


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.