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Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.
The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.
The Fallbrook PUD Board tour group initially drove from the FPUD administration building to the Alturas Road plant and then traveled along the pipeline alignment before arriving at the Gheen Pump Station. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District

Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.

The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.

Fallbrook PUD board members view construction project

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District Fallbrook PUD Board

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

At the time of the tour, the project had been under construction for 250 days. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, board members and others who attended the traveling meeting stayed in their cars. While behind the wheel, board members wove through parts of Fallbrook to follow the path of the new pipeline. With their smartphones turned on and hands-free, representatives followed each other in a single file parade while listening to a live conference call with the project contractor.  Board members learned about construction progress, and saw where and how the pipe will be installed.

The tour and the project began at the treatment plant on Alturas Road, where bulldozers and heavy machinery are moving earth to build the pipeline and a water treatment plant. The pipeline will transport water from the plant through parts of central Fallbrook, ending at McDonald Road. The project also includes a new four million-gallon storage tank, where the tour ended. Participants discussed the possibility of a subsequent tour to view ongoing progress with construction of the facilities.

The entire construction process will take approximately two years to complete, with the pipeline becoming fully operational by 2022.

LAFCO Approves Detachment Review Committee

San Diego’s County’s Local Agency Formation Commission approved a committee to review issues regarding the proposed detachment of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District from the San Diego County Water Authority.

An 8-0 LAFCO board vote June 1 approved the composition of the committee, although LAFCO executive officer Keene Simonds will appoint the specific members and the list of tasks for the committee.

“We have agreement with the County Water Authority, Rainbow and Fallbrook,” said county supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is the chair of the LAFCO board.

“We have consensus on the tasks. I think we have a working agreement on the composition,” Simonds said.

Water Authority Board Supports Protections for Ratepayers and Property Owners

The San Diego County Water Authority 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.

SDCWA Twilight building-primary 845x450

Water Authority Board Supports Protections for Ratepayers and Property Owners

The San Diego County Water Authority 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.

Read the entire resolution and related documents at www.sdcwa.org/lafco-detachment.

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 www.sdcwa.org/lafco-detachment.
  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.

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.”

Pure Water Oceanside Groundbreaking-February-2020-Pure Water-IRWM-Primary

San Diego Region on Track to Receive $15 Million for Water Projects

Several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive a total of more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision on the grants this summer.

Money for the projects has been recommended by DWR, which will make the awards after a public comment period.

In San Diego County, the grant funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

Funding for regional water projects

The San Diego County Water Authority submitted the funding request on behalf of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Region, or IRWM. The San Diego IRWM Program began in 2005 as an effort by water retailers, wastewater agencies, stormwater and flood managers, watershed groups, the business community, tribes, agriculture, and nonprofit stakeholders to improve water resources planning in the region.

“The IRWM funding will provide much-needed funding over the next several years to implement a variety of local water supply projects, water use efficiency measures, along with a disadvantaged community project in the City of National City,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl.

Kerl cited the “extraordinary effort” by the San Diego IRWM Regional Water Management Group and the Regional Advisory Committee for their work over the past year to make the $15,336,000 grant possible.

The statewide IRWM Program is supported by bond funding provided by the DWR to fund competitive grants for projects that improve water resources management.

Regional projects recommended for grant funds

  • San Diego Grant Administration, San Diego County Water Authority – Public Agency $920,180
  • 2020 Regional Water Use Efficiency Programs, San Diego County Water Authority – Public Agency Water Conservation $1,440,000
  • Paradise Valley Creek Water Quality and Community Enhancement, City of National City – Public Agency Flood Damage Reduction $3,681,056
  • North City Pure Water Facility Influent Pump Station and Conveyance Pipeline, City of San Diego, Public Agency Water Supply – Recycled Water $1,477,600
  • San Elijo Stormwater Capture & Reuse San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Public Agency Water Supply – Recycled Water $1,195,000

Enhancing water stewardship

On November 4, 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Proposition 1 authorized $510 million in IRWM funding. Funds are allocated to 12 hydrologic region-based funding areas, including the San Diego Region.

The Proposition 1 IRWM Grant Program, administered by DWR, provides funding for projects that help meet the long-term water needs of the state, including:

  • Assisting water infrastructure systems adapt to climate change;
  • Providing incentives throughout each watershed to collaborate in managing the region’s water resources and setting regional priorities for water infrastructure; and
  • Improving regional water self-reliance, while reducing reliance on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

LAFCO Approves Public Vote for FPUD-Rainbow Detachment

When the proposal for the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex to the Eastern Municipal Water District is heard by San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, a public vote will follow any LAFCO board approval.

LAFCO’s board voted 8-0 to call for a public vote, May 4, and the motion also included the creation of a technical advisory committee. LAFCO executive officer Keene Simonds will draft proposed tasks for the committee and a proposed membership composition, and LAFCO is scheduled to approve that criteria June 1.

FPUD Adopts Resolution of Emergency

The Fallbrook Public Utility District adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus epidemic.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, April 27, authorized Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, and Dave Shank, the district’s chief financial officer, to submit any necessary requests for emergency-related financial assistance to the state’s Office of Emergency Services or to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re only doing it just because there’s a timeline to submit it,” Bebee said. “Right now, we’re not planning to submit anything.”