The Rancho Santa Fe Post

April Water News from the Desk of Marlene E. King SFID Director Div. 3

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Important Upcoming Public Meeting: Wednesday, April 25, 2018, starting at 8:30am, a Special Meeting Workshop on Water Rates with newly hired Cost of Service rate consultants will be held. Members of the public are invited to speak on the subject of water rates, and special public comment time rules have been adopted to allow extended time for public comment from organized groups.

Regular April S.F.I.D. Board of Directors Meeting will be held Thursday, April 19, 2018, beginning at 8:30 am.

Report from March 29, 2018 Board of Directors Special Meeting on Strategic Financial Planning: As you might imagine, there are a number of drivers which impact the financial stability of the District: increasing cost of water purchased from our wholesaler, San Diego County Water Authority; fluctuating supply of local water from Lake Hodges which costs less to treat and transport than water purchased from our wholesaler; declining demand from our customers; and increasing costs of the CalPERS pension plan.

  • Decline in customer demand: FY 07 – 14,665 Acre Ft.; FY 16 – 8,008 Acre Ft.; last year 9421 Acre Ft. (As a point of information, prior to Gov. Brown declaring his drought emergency on 4/01/15, California water purveyors were focused on reducing customer demand 20% by the year 2020. S.F.I.D.’s goal for “20X2020” was 11,486 Acre Ft.)
  • CalPERS pensions: Projected increase in accrued liability FY 18 of $704,463 to FY 25 of $1,405,000

Statewide Water Availability Report: California Dept. of Water Resources reported April 1, 2018 this year looks to be the 13th lowest snowpack since 1950. Metropolitan Water District is expecting to receive 20% of the water it requests from the State, which is 10 – 15% less than what they need to meet their demand. Consequently, MET will be taking water out of their storage accounts this year to satisfy customer demand.

Dept. of Water Resources’ April 1st snowpack measurement, taken at historic Phillips Station near Lake Tahoe, came in with a water content 49% of the long term average for Phillips Station. To put this measurement in perspective, in January 2018, the measurement was 24% of average; March 2018 was 39% of average. A year ago, April 1, 2017, the water content of the snowpack measured at Phillips Station was 183% of long-term average.

Santa Fe Irrigation District’s residential water usage for February 2018: Usage, calculated as residential gallons per capita per day, was 317 r-gpcd. Statewide, Californians are using 18% more water than the same time one year ago…nearly the same amount as before the drought emergency was declared. As a comparison to our 317 r-gpcd for February, statewide, the average usage for Californians was 71 r-gpcd.

Prior to Gov. Brown rescinding his drought emergency declaration, the media often would report the purveyors with the highest per capita usage in California. You might recall that Santa Fe Irrigation District was often at the top of that list, with several rather uncomplimentary media articles about Rancho Santa Fe. Recently I spent some computer time roaming through the State Water Resources Control Board’s “conservation portal” to see where S.F.I.D. currently stacks up against other communities in California. While not all water purveyors are reporting their r-gpcd to the State Board, Santa Fe Irrigation District’s customers are still coming in at the top of the heap!

Update on new Automated Meters information available on S.F.I.D. website: District staff uploaded a video showcasing District Management Analyst Jessica Parks removing the lid of an automated meter. The video allows one to view how the wire is attached from the black rubber disc on the lid to the new meter. There is also a good explanation of how to read the numbers off the new meter. Unfortunately, the website does not state when the customer portal will be up and running, providing customers with the new automated meters the ability to view, on-line, the numerous daily water usage data points transmitted by the automated meters.