You are now in Features View From The Chair category.

San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors Chair Jim Madaffer-primary-View from the Chair

Jim Madaffer: Supporting Protections for Ratepayers and Property Owners

I hope this finds you safe and healthy despite the challenging circumstances that we face as a region, state and nation.

While our hearts are heavy, we continue working on several critical issues at the Water Authority this month, and I would like to share three of them with you briefly.

  1. The Water Authority’s Board of Directors on May 28 voted to support a comprehensive evaluation of the impacts of detachment proposals by the Rainbow and Fallbrook water districts to ensure that ratepayers and property owners in those districts and the rest of the county are protected from potential impacts and given a meaningful opportunity to engage in the process. That evaluation – under development by the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO – should cover financial, water supply reliability, governmental, and environmental impacts, and it should ensure that the public and all affected agencies across the region can weigh in, according to the Water Authority Board resolution. I encourage you to read the entire resolution at
  2. Our Board has set a public hearing on 2021 rates and charges on June 25. As you know, this has been a very rough stretch financially for almost every business and agency – and water utilities are no exception. Staff has proposed a strategy that would raise the rates we charge our member agencies by about 6 percent next year. That recommendation is the result of cost-cutting, using our Rate Stabilization Fund and other measures. It’s a thoughtful and careful proposal, and I’m expecting our Board will have robust discussion before voting on this issue that affects us all.
  3. On the financial front, we are also doing our part to attract more state and federal economic stimulus funds for a long list of shovel-ready water projects. The Water Authority has coordinated a letter from several water agencies asking Congress for COVID-19 financial relief for public water utilities and ratepayers. At the same time, I am pleased to announce that several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive a total of more than $15 million in state grant funds, pending a final decision this summer. The money would help local agencies advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

As always, I will continue to update you on these critical issues and others in the weeks ahead.

View From The Chair represents the viewpoints of Jim Madaffer, Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors.

Epidemic of Wipes and Masks Plague Sewers, Storm Drains

Mayor Jim Kenney kicked off a recent briefing on Philadelphia’s coronavirus response with an unusual request for residents: Be careful what you flush. Between mid-March, when the city’s stay-at-home order was issued, and the end of April, most of the 19 sewer and storm water pumping stations in Philadelphia had experienced clogs from face masks, gloves and wipes residents had pitched into the potty, Kenney said.

Water Portfolio to be Finalized ‘in Coming Weeks’

During a meeting of the State Board of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday, Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said the administration is continuing to advance the Water Resilience Portfolio and plans to complete the policy document soon. … The plan has stalled since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of California.

State, Feds in Talks Over Water

California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects, a top state official says.

CWA Approves Detachment Conditions Resolution

The San Diego County Water Authority will oppose the detachment of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District from the SDCWA unless certain findings can be made.

A May 28 SDCWA board vote approved a resolution that the CWA will oppose the detachment unless it can be demonstrated that FPUD and Rainbow can guarantee that all obligations promised to their own ratepayers are met, that the detachment will not adversely affect the other 22 CWA member agencies or the county as a region, that the detachment and annexation into the Eastern Municipal Water District will not increase reliance on the Bay-Delta, and that the detachment will not reduce the CWA’s voting power at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board meetings.

“This resolution does not oppose these detachment applications. It lays out a process to thoroughly review,” Sandra Kerl, general manager of CWA, said. “Today’s resolution is intended to get the ball rolling.”

Cash Flows: How Investors Are Banking On the West’s Water Scarcity

In the arid West, scarce water supplies are growing scarcer. Climate change is shrinking snowpack in river basins throughout the region, leaving the future water supplies for cities, industries and farmers uncertain.

EPA Makes ‘Contorted’ Legal Argument for Permit Rule

EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that originally granted states that oversight power.

In a Dry Year, Valley Water Sales Get an Extra Dose of Scrutiny

As California navigates a critically dry water year, many business-as-usual elements are getting a second look. One such transaction is a proposed water sale by the Merced Irrigation District.

Opinion: Massive Lake Powell Pipeline Project Affects All Utahns, Not Just Washington County

People generally think of the Lake Powell Pipeline as a southern Utah project, which it is. But we should not forget that the project, first conceived in 1995 and mandated by the 2006 Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act, would burden all Utahns.

Utah would bond for 50 years or more and Washington County would repay, only slowly, tying up much needed state funds at a time when the our ability to balance the budget will be challenging.

Extreme Heat Expected Again In County Deserts, Cooling Arrives On Friday

The mercury could soar to 112 again Thursday in the San Diego County deserts, but cooler weather will arrive on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The high pressure that has caused sweltering conditions since Tuesday will be replaced by a low-pressure system, which will also bring a slight chance of rain Friday night through Saturday morning everywhere except the deserts, forecasters said.