Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Establishes Budgets, Raises Rates

Increased costs, aging infrastructure, conservation and recycling programs, plant upgrades, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta factor into MWD’s two-year objectives.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) board has approved spending plans for FY 2012-2013, and FY 2013-2014. The board established a $1.78B budget for FY 2012-2013, and $.189B for FY 2013-2014. The district’s fiscal year starts in July. MWD provides wholesale water to 26 member agencies and districts ranging from Oxnard, CA to the Mexican border, and encompassing a 5,200 square mile service area.

The board also approved an increase in wholesale water rates for its member agencies. Member agencies will see a 5% increase effective January 2013, with an additional 5% increase on January 2014.

According to a press release from MWD:

For 70 years, we have delivered safe, reliable and affordable water to consumers and businesses throughout six Southland counties. That service continues to support the region’s trillion dollar economy,” Kightlinger said. “However, like many basic services today, our costs are increasing for a number of reasons. One of the biggest is the constant need to repair and upgrade our aging system to ensure the continued reliable delivery of water.

Capital investment into existing infrastructure is a substantial component of the budget. In FY 1998-1999, the district spent $30M on capital expenditures. The budget for FY 2012-2013, calls for nearly a ten-fold increase in capital expenditures, more than $280M.

The district also will spend $20M on conservation programs. Another $33M will go towards the district’s Local Resources Program, aimed toward helping member agencies develop and operate water recycling programs.

Additionally, the district will invest another $1B to retrofit its five treatment plants to utilize ozone.

Also included in the two-year plan are expenditures to address conservation and rehabilitation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where the district receives about 30% of its water.