WaterSource New Masthead


June 6, 2014  
In This Issue
Water Authority Files Third Legal Challenge Against MWD
Desalination Conveyance Pipeline Halfway Complete
Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
Turf Replacement Rebates Get Boost
Water Authority Exhibit At Fair Wins Awards
H2O Videos
Firewise Landscaping
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Water Authority Files Third Legal Challenge Against MWD Rates 


The Water Authority has filed its third legal challenge against rates set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, alleging that MWD's rates for 2015 and 2016 aren't based on the costs of providing the services. If allowed to stand, MWD's rates for those two years alone would overcharge San Diego County ratepayers by $92 million; over 45 years, the total overcharges by MWD could exceed $2 billion.


The latest lawsuit follows a sweeping victory for the Water Authority in the first phase of litigation in two similar lawsuits challenging MWD's rates. On April 24, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Curtis E. A. Karnow issued a final statement of decision that said MWD violated cost-of-service requirements in California's Constitution, statutes and common law when setting rates for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Specifically, the court said MWD's rates violate California's wheeling statute, Government Code section 54999.7(a), and common law that apply to ratemaking. He also said MWD's 2013 and 2014 rates violate Proposition 26, approved by voters in November 2010 and now embodied in the California Constitution as Article XIIIC.  Proposition 26 shifted the burden to public agencies to prove they are not charging more than the actual cost of the services they provide.


The Water Authority's Board of Directors voted unanimously on April 24 to authorize another lawsuit against MWD over rates it adopted on April 8 for 2015 and 2016 using the same illegal methodology it used the prior four years.  

Click here for more information.
Carlsbad Desalination Pipeline Crews Reach Halfway Point on Construction of 10-Mile Pipeline  

The 10-mile pipeline that will connect the Carlsbad Desalination Plant to the Water Authority's distribution system is 50 percent complete, Poseidon Water and the Water Authority recently announced. Approximately five miles - or 26,400 linear feet - of the large-diameter pipe has been installed through San Marcos, Vista and Carlsbad.


When finished, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. It will produce up to 50 million gallons a day and account for about one-third of all the water generated in San Diego County, helping reduce reliance on imported water as part of the Water Authority's multi-decade strategy to enhance the region's water supply reliability. In 2020, the project will meet about 7 percent of the region's water demand.


Click here for more information on construction progress.  


Click here to see additional photos of construction of the Carlsbad Seawater Desalination plant and pipeline. 

Water Authority Seeks Clarity on Bay-Delta Conservation Plan


The  Water Authority is urging state and federal officials to be more transparent and thorough in explaining the fundamental financial components of a proposed $25 billion project to construct twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.


Draft environmental documents for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan should be expanded to include enough information for water agencies to assess both costs and benefits, the Water Authority said in a formal comment letter to state and federal regulators on May 30. The Water Authority also requested more details about how much water would result from the project and pressed for greater inclusion of all water contractors to ensure balanced implementation of whatever strategy is adopted.


As the largest customer of the largest State Water Contractor, the Water Authority and its ratepayers have a major financial stake in the BDCP, a proposal for addressing complex water supply and environmental issues around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta. In recent years, about 20 percent of the San Diego region's water supplies flow through the Bay-Delta, the hub of the State Water Project. The system has become less reliable in recent years as the ecosystem has deteriorated. The state's preferred fix includes three new water intakes on the Sacramento River and two large-diameter tunnels to carry up to 9,000 cubic feet of water per second under the Bay-Delta, along with habitat restoration.  

 Click here for more information. 

Turf Replacement Rebates Get Boost

As San Diego County heads into summer and the peak season for water use, regional water-saving programs are growing thanks to two pieces of good news - a $1 increase in the amount offered per square foot for replacing turf grass, and a major boost in grant funding to extend the Water Authority's turf replacement program.


Residents, businesses, homeowner associations and public agencies in San Diego County are now eligible for rebates of up to $3.50 per square foot from regional programs for replacing turf grass with water-efficient landscaping options more suited to the county's semi-arid climate.


Click here for more information. 

"Octopus's Garden" Wins 15 San Diego County Fair Awards

SDCFair 2014 

The San Diego Horticultural Society and the Water Authority are once again partnering on a display garden at the 2014 San Diego County Fair. Designed by Kimberly Alexander of Allée Landscape Design, this exhibit offers a contemporary design showing how sustainable practices can be integrated into a residential setting. The exhibit won 15 awards this year as part of the fair's Garden Show.

The garden includes a plant palette of low-water-use and native plants that need minimal maintenance. Two types of water retention: a rain garden (with rain harvesting tank) and a bioswale are featured.

Additional educational components include the use of permeable hardscape, healthy organic-rich soil and plenty of mulch to maintain moisture. A terraced design to reduce erosion, modern furniture and unique garden art complete this beautiful WaterSmart garden exhibit.

Click here for more information.


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 $191 billion economy and quality of life of 3.1 million residents.