WaterSource New Masthead


April 15, 2016    
In This Issue
Adoption of Illegal MWD Rates Force Fourth Water Authority Lawsuit
When in Drought Outreach Campaign Earns Statewide Honor
Did you see?
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Board of Directors voted Tuesday on  upcoming budget and proposed water rate increases.
The San Diego Union-Tribune published a letter from Water Authority Board Chair Mark Weston explaining, "what alarms me most is that Metropolitan is doing so using methodology that a state Superior Court judge has ruled illegal to collect money that it does not need using a process that lacks public transparency."
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San Diego County Water Authority

Adoption of Illegal MWD Rates Force Fourth Water Authority Lawsuit
MWD Board ignores court order to set rates based on state law
The Water Authority filed its fourth lawsuit against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, alleging that MWD's newly adopted rates for 2017 and 2018 violate California law, the state Constitution and common law that all require rates to be set based upon cost of service. MWD adopted the rates at its Tuesday, April 12 meeting.
A Superior Court judge ruled in November 2015 that MWD's rates for 2011-2014 were illegal. The judge directed MWD to pay the Water Authority more than $243 million in damages, costs, pre-judgment interest and attorneys' fees.
In his November ruling, the judge also ordered MWD to only set legal rates in future years.
Ignoring the judge's ruling and order to set only lawful rates, MWD's board of directors approved rates and charges for 2017 and 2018 using the same illegal methodology that it used in 2011-2014.
MWD's overcharges of the Water Authority for 2017 and 2018 are expected to be more than $134 million, and overcharges for the eight years contested by the Water Authority are approximately $524 million (not counting the interest, court costs and attorney's fees from 2015-2018). If allowed to stand, overcharges by MWD could exceed $2 billion over 20 years.
Additional information about the case, including the lawsuit over 2017 and 2018 rates, is at www.sdcwa.org/mwdrate-challenge.
When in Drought Campaign Earns Statewide Honor
The Water Authority's "When in Drought" outreach and conservation campaign was honored this week as the best water program among medium-sized water agencies in the state by the California Municipal Utilities Association. During the organization's 84th annual conference in San Francisco, the association presented the Water Authority with its Resource Efficiency Award for 2016.
As a wholesale water agency, the Water Authority coordinates drought response actions for San Diego County to help local water agencies meet state water-use mandates while minimizing harm to the region's $218 billion economy. In 2014, the Water Authority launched the "When in Drought" campaign to promote efforts to "save every day, every way" as drought conditions worsened.  
The Water Authority's Board in May 2015 strengthened support for the campaign to help achieve statewide water-use reduction mandates. It approved additional funding for advertising, developing a smartphone app so users can report water waste across the region; expanding customer assistance by funding more indoor and outdoor water-use evaluations; creating a web-based, step-by-step guide for homeowners to convert to water-efficient landscaping; and offering a water-use efficiency training program for landscaping professionals. A multitude of community partners, ranging from San Diego Zoo Global to Westfield North County, extended the reach of the campaign. 
The combined efforts worked. The Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, and residents and businesses helped the region beat the state's aggregate water-use reduction target of 20 percent from June 2015 through February 2016. 
For more information, go to whenindrought.org
The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $218 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.2 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.