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Welcome to the Board: Eric Heidemann, City of Poway

Eric Heidemann was seated on the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors on May 8, 2020, representing the City of Poway. Director Heidemann serves on the Imported Water and Engineering and Operations committees for the Water Authority.

Eric Heidemann-Welcome-Board-City of Poway

Welcome to the Board: Eric Heidemann, City of Poway

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights new members of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 36-member Board of Directors. Each of the Water Authority’s 24 member agencies appoints at least one representative to the Board, which sets policy for the Water Authority.

Welcome to the Board: Eric Heidemann, City of Poway

Who: Eric Heidemann was seated on the Board of Directors on May 8, 2020, representing the City of Poway. Director Heidemann serves on the Imported Water and Engineering and Operations committees for the Water Authority.

Background/Education: University of Arizona, B.S. Business and M.S. Urban Planning

Water Industry Affiliations: 

City of Poway, Public Works Director

Metro Wastewater Commission JPA

American Water Works Association (AWWA)

American Public Works Association (APWA)

League of Californian Cities

Q & A

Q: How did you get interested in water issues?

A: I was born in California, raised in Arizona, and after graduating college – worked as a planner in Colorado.  I’ve spent my entire life in the Southwest. As a kid from Tucson, I lived through decade-long droughts and watched the Central Arizona Project (CAP) be constructed and deliver Colorado River water to southern Arizona.  That was a big deal back then.  In Colorado, I worked for a small town near Vail (at the headwaters of the Colorado River) and was responsible for managing development and the Town’s very senior water rights portfolio.  Currently, I’m the Director of Public Works for the City of Poway and responsible for, among other things, its water treatment and distribution systems.  I’m a product of the Southwest, and water has had a strong influence on my personal and professional life.

Q: What are your priorities or interests as a Board member?

A: My priorities as a Board member are to work hard, listen carefully, and add value wherever I can.  The SDCWA is a premier organization with excellent staff and strong administrative and financial policies.  I want to see that continue.  I don’t take the responsibly of being a Board Member lightly – I feel honored to work with some of the brightest minds in water.

Q: Besides maintaining safe and reliable water supplies, what do you see as the top three issues facing the San Diego region?

A:  Housing, transportation, and aging infrastructure.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not working?

A: Now that my kids are older I spend a lot of my free time running. Recently, I’ve been stretching myself by training for an ultra-marathon. It really helps me think, clear my mind, and reduce stress.

The Water Authority’s Board of Directors typically meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. The Board invites the public to attend its monthly meetings and to comment on agenda items or other matters before the Board. For meeting times, agendas and documents, go to www.sdcwa.org/board-directors.

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Local Water Agencies to Receive $44.4 Million Rebate

I’m so pleased report that yesterday the Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted to distribute a rebate of $44.4 million to its 24 member agencies across the region after receiving a check for that amount from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay legal damages and interest.

The rebate resulted from the Water Authority’s decade-long rate case litigation in state Superior Court seeking to compel MWD to set legal rates and repay overcharges. The Water Authority won several critical issues in cases covering 2011-2014 and was deemed the prevailing party, which means the agency is also owed legal fees and charges in addition to the recent damages and interest payment from MWD.

The court rulings will also help avoid future overcharges and thereby minimize future disputes over MWD’s unlawful Water Stewardship Rate for transporting the Water Authority’s independent water supplies through MWD facilities. Those charges – if they had continued – would have cost San Diego County residents more than $500 million over the life of the Water Authority’s water delivery contract with MWD.

This day has been a long time coming. We never wanted to litigate these issues – but if we had not had the courage to do so, MWD would still be collecting the illegal fees and we would not have money to give back to local retail water agencies across the region.

MWD Overcharges-Rate Case-Rebates-Member Agencies

Water Authority Board Supports Regional Potable Reuse Projects

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved a formal resolution reaffirming its longstanding support for potable reuse and water recycling projects developed by local member agencies across the region.

“Projects such as Pure Water San Diego, Pure Water Oceanside and the East County Advanced Water Purification Project are critical to the continued development of local water sources that help sustain the region’s 3.3 million residents and $245 billion economy,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher.

Water Authority to Split $44.4M Among Local Agencies After Win in Legal Battle With MWD

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors Thursday announced a plan to distribute a rebate of $44.4 million to its 24 member agencies across the region.

They did so after receiving a check for that amount from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay legal damages and interest after a long legal battle.

MWD Overcharges-Rate Case Rebates-San Diego County Water Authority

$44.4 Million in MWD Overcharges Being Returned to Local Water Agencies

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today announced a plan to distribute a rebate of $44.4 million to its 24 member agencies across the region after receiving a check for that amount from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay legal damages and interest.

The money resulted from the Water Authority’s decade-long rate case litigation in state Superior Court seeking to compel MWD to set legal rates and repay overcharges. The Water Authority won several critical issues in cases covering 2011-2014 and was deemed the prevailing party, which means the agency is also owed legal fees and charges in addition to the recent damages and interest payment from MWD.

The court rulings will also help avoid future overcharges and thereby minimize future disputes over MWD’s unlawful Water Stewardship Rate for transporting the Water Authority’s independent water supplies through MWD facilities. Those charges – if they had continued – would have cost San Diego County residents more than $500 million over the life of the Water Authority’s water delivery contract with MWD.

“A long time coming”

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “We never wanted to litigate these issues – but if we had not had the courage to do so, MWD would still be collecting the illegal fees and we would not have money to give back to local retail water agencies across the region.”

Per today’s decision by the Water Authority’s Board, the $44.4 million will be returned to member agencies in proportion to their overpayments between 2011-2014. The Water Authority does not have a say in how member agencies use the refunds. The amount of legal fees and costs owed to the Water Authority is yet to be determined.

MWD Overcharges-Rate Case-Rebates-Member Agencies

In addition to damages and interest, the rate case lawsuits generated other substantial benefits, such as requiring an increase in the Water Authority’s preferential rights to MWD water by approximately 100,000 acre-feet a year, equivalent to about twice the annual production of the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project.

In February 2020, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors voted to dismiss certain issues from the litigation after securing more than $350 million in local project subsidy benefits for the San Diego region. In doing so, the Water Authority acknowledged the MWD Board action to stop imposing its Water Stewardship Rate for transporting the Water Authority’s independent supplies, thus resolving for now that issue in future rate years.

As the lawsuits wind down, the Water Authority is working collaboratively with MWD member agencies across Southern California to update MWD’s long-term water resource and financial plans. MWD’s Integrated Resources Plan, known as the IRP, will be the agency’s roadmap for the future. The Water Authority is advocating for inclusion of updated data and plans by many MWD member agencies to develop local water supplies such as the Water Authority and its member agencies have done over the past two decades and will continue to do in the future.

Water Authority Board Supports Regional Potable Reuse Projects

February 25, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved a formal resolution reaffirming its longstanding support for potable reuse and water recycling projects developed by local member agencies across the region.

Pure Water Oceanside-Potable Reuse-Sustainability

Water Authority Board Supports Regional Potable Reuse Projects

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved a formal resolution reaffirming its longstanding support for potable reuse and water recycling projects developed by local member agencies across the region.

“Projects such as Pure Water San Diego, Pure Water Oceanside and the East County Advanced Water Purification Project are critical to the continued development of local water sources that help sustain the region’s 3.3 million residents and $245 billion economy,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “The Water Authority has long supported water reuse and recycling projects, and we will continue to collaborate with member agencies in developing these vital local resources.”

Water supply diversification

For more than two decades, the Water Authority has promoted the advancement of water recycling and reuse in San Diego County as part of the region’s water supply diversification and reliability strategy.

The agency has sponsored and supported legislation to speed the development of potable reuse regulations in California, and has worked as an active member of the WateReuse Association to help shape the statutory and regulatory framework for potable reuse in the state. And Water Authority investments in high-priority, highly reliable water from the Colorado River support the development of local resources by delivering a low-cost baseload of water that can be recycled and repurified.

Potable reuse project funding

In addition, the Water Authority has advocated for robust funding in state bond measures, including seeking the inclusion of up to $500 million to expedite potable reuse and advanced water treatment projects in a legislative bond measure targeted for the November 2022 ballot. The Water Authority also helped secure nearly $500 million for local projects from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 2019 and 2020, and most of that money was for potable reuse.

Potable reuse relies on advanced treatment technologies to produce a high-quality drinking water that is locally controlled, drought-resilient, and reduces wastewater ocean discharges. Every gallon of recycled or repurified water reduces the need to import or develop other supplies.

Recycled water, potable reuse projects under construction

Approximately 33,000 acre-feet of recycled water is expected to be reused within the Water Authority’s service area annually by 2025. The volume is expected to continue growing as new and expanded potable reuse plants come online. They are projected to produce more than 112,000 acre-feet per year of new drinking water supplies by 2045, enough to meet nearly 18% of the region’s future water demand.

Two of the first three potable reuse projects are now under construction in San Diego County:

A third project, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, a combined effort by the City of El Cajon, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, and the Helix Water District, is in the design/pre-construction phase.

Mona Rios Elected Vice Chair of Water Authority Board

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday elected Mona Rios as vice chair to serve with Board Chair Gary Croucher and Secretary Jerry Butkiewicz. She is the first Latina to serve as a Board officer in the Water Authority’s 76-year history.

Rios joined the Water Authority Board in January 2020, and represents the City of National City, where she serves as the Vice Mayor. A fourth-generation National City resident, Rios has served on the National City Council since 2010. She is a member of the Water Authority Board’s Legislation and Public Outreach Committee and the Water Planning and Environmental Committee.

National City’s Mona Rios is First Latina to Serve as Water Authority Officer

The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors has elected National City representative Mona Rios as vice chair.

Rios, who has served on National City’s city council since 2010 and is currently vice mayor, is the first Latina to serve as a board officer in the water authority’s 76-year history. She joined the board last January