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OPINION: The Case for Higher Water Rates

Just about every year, the San Diego County Water Authority uses ratepayer funds to bus local citizens to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s final budget meeting in downtown Los Angeles. They are customers who have ended up with some unfortunate misimpressions about Metropolitan’s financial practices and proposed budget, and they come to urge Metropolitan to collect less revenue than what is proposed. And then the bus goes home.


OPINION: Jeff Denham: Bureaucrats Impede Water Development

A simple and relatively inexpensive way to expand California’s available water is to modify spillways on reservoirs. Congressman Jeff Denham noted experts have estimated it would allow access to a million acre feet of water annually. That’s enough to meet the typical water needs of almost 11 million people a year based on per capital consumption figures supplied by the United States Geological Survey.

But it requires more than the proverbial act of Congress. Denham noted the big roadblock is the federal bureaucracy — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to be more precise — that only relicenses hydroelectric operations every 40 to 50 years. 

OPNION: Hetch Hetchy: Environmental Hypocrisy, San Francisco-Style

San Francisco intellectuals are noted for attacking Central Valley farmers, Sierra lumbermen and Los Angeles for environmental crimes.The most enduring symbol of hatred for the San Francisco environmental crowd is dams. They represent everything supposedly evil about modern-day California. They contend the huge concrete structures destroy wild rivers, flood pristine canyons and spur urban growth where it shouldn’t occur.

The San Francisco crowd’s favorite whipping boy is Los Angeles. They detest what Los Angeles has done in the name of water development, specifically with the Owens Valley and Mono Lake.

OPINION: Con: Agency Needs Transparency Before Raising Rates

Few people would be shocked to learn that the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District is once again preparing to raise water rates and property taxes for the next two years, given its history of similar increases. 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.

In Response: Hitting our Mark

The Union-Tribune’s report on regional and statewide water conservation efforts (“Water conservation skid worsens across state,” April 5) omitted an important fact about the months-long effort of local residents and businesses to increase conservation — a fact that deserves to be recognized. We, as a region, saved enough water to successfully meet the state’s mandate for the initial emergency regulation period of June 2015 through February 2016.

Together, we reduced potable water use by 22 percent over this period compared to 2013 levels, outperforming the state’s aggregate target of 20 percent for the San Diego region.

Water Woes Divide California into Haves, Have Nots

People have long predicted that California could eventually collapse into the ocean following a mega earthquake. Now, an eerily similar true-life scenario is playing out — but it’s thanks to the weather.

The Gold Rush State has sunk more than 45 feet since 1935 – something the U.S. government calls the “largest human alteration of the earth’s surface.” But earthquakes aren’t the cause. It’s happening because of excessive groundwater mining brought on by drought, and geologists say all the rain in the world won’t reverse cave-ins of dirt and rock in underground aquifers.

OPINION: Pro: Rate Increases Needed to Meet Water Needs

Like other financially sound organizations, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has a robust budget process that provides fiscal stability while addressing current needs and long term objectives. This approach has resulted in the kind of essential investments to ensure the Southland has had reliable water supplies during this historic drought and prevented untold regional economic hardship — projects such as new water storage, local supply development, conservation rebates and innovative technologies.

Over the years, many of these initiatives were supported by the San Diego County Water Authority representatives on our board, though some were not.