Santa Fe Irrigation Board Considers New Water Rates

At an Aug. 18 special meeting to review water rate structure alternatives, the Santa Fe Irrigation District board opted to pause and take more time to get additional details on its options.

The board had planned to make a decision on proposed new rate structures at its Sept. 29 meeting, selecting from options of tiered rates by water supply, tiered rates by meter size or budget-based rates, in which customers are given individual budgets and usage above the budget incurs a higher rate.

Santa Fe Irrigation District Weighs Options For Water Rate Structures

The Santa Fe Irrigation District continues to evaluate potential water rate increases, aiming to bring forward a proposal for its new rate structure by the end of the year. Last December, the board voted not to adopt a proposal to raise rates by an average of 3 percent over the three years, sending the district back to work with its consultants to come up with a different plan that would be best for ratepayers. The Santa Fe Irrigation (SFID) board is weighing its various options and looking at what revenues are needed to accomplish the district’s capital investments to ensure safe and sustainable local water supply while ensuring that the customer receives the best service possible.

Insects Plague Rancho Santa Fe’s Eucalyptus Trees

With the spring and onset of summer comes the return of the lerp psyllid insect to Rancho Santa Fe’s trees, an insect that eats up red gum eucalyptus foliage and leaves behind a big mess. The weather being cold and rainy for the last two winters has helped—the lerp psyllid population dies down in the cold months and that, in combination with the abundant rain, has reduced the overall stress on the trees, they are able to sustain themselves a bit better, said Caitlin Kreutz, RSF Association Parks and Recreation assistant manager. But with the return of warmer weather, the lerps are back.

Santa Fe Irrigation District Announces Hiring Of New General Manager

The Santa Fe Irrigation District has hired a new general manager to lead the district, following the retirement in December of long-time general manager Michael Bardin. Albert Lau, currently the director of engineering and planning with the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in East County, will assume his new role on Monday, March 4. The Santa Fe district provides water to about 20,000 residents of Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and Fairbanks Ranch.

Water District’s GM Retires After 40-year Career

Michael Bardin is retiring after a 40-year career in the water industry, the past 14 years as general manager of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, but he won’t be avoiding the wet stuff. In retirement, Bardin plans to spend more time with his family and also indulge his hobby as a saltwater angler. Retirement will free him up to ply local coastal waters in his boat. “Hopefully I’ll have more time to get out there and catch some fish,” said Bardin, who will continue to live in Oceanside with his wife after retirement. His last day on the job was Wednesday, Dec. 5.

SFID To Vote On Water Rate Increases Dec. 20

The Rancho Santa Fe Association is pushing back against the Santa Fe Irrigation District’s proposed water rate increases. The water district is proposing three percent water rate increases over the next three years and is scheduled to vote at a Dec. 20 hearing. If approved, the new rate would be implemented on Jan. 1. “The Rancho Santa Fe Association is protesting the rates,” said RSF Association Manager Christy Whalen at the Nov. 1 Association board meeting. “We are one of the largest users in the district and we are looking for a more equitable rate structure.”