The Finance Committee of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California has decided to recommend the Board
of Directors not increase the District’s replenishment assessment* (RA) for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
At its May 4, 2012 meeting, the Board of Directors will hold its 10th and final budget hearing and workshop, where it will make its final decision on the 2012-2013 replenishment assessment. The zero increase scenario has been a consideration since the first workshop of the series. These public meetings have been well attended by stakeholders, residents, local leaders, and community and environmental advocates.
The workshops have provided the public the opportunity to give direct and important feedback to help influence the budget process and shape the final budget.
“WRD has now held 9 consecutive public meetings to insure transparency, and we have heard from members of the public throughout the district,” said Finance Committee Chair and Board Treasurer Sergio Calderon. “We think our recommendation reflects a combination of thoughtful public input, belt tightening, and expert analysis that will insure water will continue to be safe, reliable and affordable for struggling ratepayers.”
The clock has started in an effort by a water district to cut off water supplies to Pico Rivera and four other area cities after the cities refused to pay a water assessment.
The Water Replenishment District on Monday made its case in Norwalk Superior Court to outlaw water pumping in Pico Rivera, Downey, Signal Hill, Bellflower and Downey, saying the rebel cities need to pay up while five other legal actions get worked out in a separate court.
Compliant cities in the area are going to end up suffering if the five cities don’t fork over what will add up to $8million in unpaid assessments by the end of this fiscal year, WRD officials said.
“They’re pumping water and not paying us,” said Ed Casey, a WRD attorney. “That’s not fair.”
The fate of Downey’s water supply now rests in the hands of a Superior Court judge.
Judge Raul Sahagun in Norwalk Court on Monday heard arguments in a lawsuit by the Water Replenishment District to stop Downey and four other cities from pumping drinking water.
He could hand down his decision any day.
For months, Downey, Signal Hill, Cerritos, Pico Rivera and Bellflower have refused to pay a $244-per-acre foot assessment for water they pumped from the area’s groundwater basin. An acre-foot is about enough water for a family for a year.
A state appellate court has ruled that a Superior Court judge has the power to consider a plan for water storage in the southeast area of Los Angeles County.
A regional water district, five cities and two water utilities in the southeast area in 2009 proposed a plan to allocate available underground water storage.
But Norwalk Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig in July 2010 ruled she didn’t have the power to consider the plan proposed by the Water Replenishment District of Southern California and the cities of Lakewood, Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Long Beach and Vernon; California Water Service and the Golden State Water Company.
To water managers in thirsty Southern California, the idle space in two of Los Angeles County’s huge aquifers looks tantalizing.
In all, 450,000 of the millions of acre-feet in the Central and West Coast basins are vacant. It’s almost the volume of a comparable number of football fields with a one-foot-deep layer of water.
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California, joined by other agencies and the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Los Angeles, Huntington Park and Vernon, have waged an almost three-year legal battle to tap the groundwater storage.
WRD’s comprehensive network of monitoring wells in the Central Basin to be incorporated into statewide groundwater monitoring program.
The California Department of Water Resources has officially designated the Water Replenishment District of Southern California as the Groundwater Level Monitoring Entity for Central Basin and West Coast sub-basin under the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Program. The CASGEM program is a statewide groundwater monitoring program that will make groundwater information readily and widely available. WRD has established a large network of monitoring wells in the Central Basin and regularly analyses both water levels and water quality in the area.
“WRD is pleased that DWR recognizes the expertise and experience of its staff to provide the groundwater information,” stated WRD Board President Sergio Calderon. “For over 50 years, the District has prepared and published an annual Engineering Survey and Report which contains current and historical data on groundwater production, the annual and accumulated overdraft, groundwater levels, and detailed information on groundwater conditions. Additionally, WRD’s Hydrogeology Group prepares and publishes an annual Regional Groundwater Monitoring Report, first issued in1972, which relies on the District’s nearly 300 depth-specific monitoring wells at over 50 different locations.”
“WRD also appreciates support by the Central Basin Water Association and the West Basin Water Association that the District be named as the area’s groundwater monitoring entity,” commented WRD GM Robb Whitaker. “The Water Associations are important stakeholders and the District works closely with them to ensure that the Central and West Coast groundwater basins are protected.”