No Rate Increase in District’s 2018-2019 Operating Budget
The Lakeside Water District Board of Directors at their July, 3, 2018 meeting approved a $9.7 million budget for fiscal year 2018-2019. The budget includes $2.02 million dollars for pipeline replacement and other capital expenditures and will not require any rate increase to fund the District’s operations.
New State Water-Use Efficiency Regulations
Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668 on May 31, 2018, which set into motion bills that are intended to help the state better prepare for droughts and climate change by directing state agencies to adopt regulations related to water-use efficiency for the first time in the state’s history.
AB 1668 sponsored by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and SB 606 sponsored by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), will implement strict water use limits by June 30, 2022; Together, the two bills establish an indoor, per-person water use goal of 55 gallons per day until 2025 when the limit decreases to 52.5 gallons per day until 2030, and then decreases to 50 gallons per day thereafter. It will be the responsibility of water agencies to work with users to meet the goals.
The laws will also mandate that the state create incentives and objectives for water suppliers to recycle water, and also require urban and agricultural water suppliers to set annual water budgets.
The Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board will hold hearings with outdoor water agencies and recommend standards that are more flexible, since these agencies have water plans that vary greatly depending on their size and location.
To dispel some inaccurate information that followed shortly after the signing, there is no statewide mandate for individuals to reduce indoor water use to 55 gallons per person per day. The 55 gallon figure is a piece of a complex calculation to set overall water-use objectives for water agencies starting in late 2023.
Potential fines outlined in the new state laws are for water agencies, not for individuals. Under the law, water agencies have discretion about how to achieve state objectives given local conditions.
Continued adoption of water-efficient technology in appliances, irrigation components and other devices, along with mandatory water use restrictions passed in 2017 will allow for a fairly easy transition to comply with the upcoming use requirements.
News from the June Ballot Measures
California voters have also approved a ballot measure allowing the state to borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects that proponents say will help ensure access to clean drinking water.
Proposition 68 — one of five statewide measures on the ballot — passed on June 7, 2018 with 56 percent of the vote.
The measure lets California issue general obligation bonds to fund parks in underserved neighborhoods and provide money for flood-prevention and clean drinking water projects.
It also includes $200 million to help preserve the state’s largest lake, the Salton Sea, which has been evaporating. The lake’s shrinkage has swept dust into nearby communities and threatened bird habitat.
Supporters argued that the measure will help California mitigate natural disasters such as wildfires and floods, and expand community access to parks, while opponents didn’t want the state to take on new bond debt.