Two press releases were published on October 29th to announce progress for securing water supply and cost savings for ratepayers.
The Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID) the San Dieguito Water District (SDWD), and the City of San Diego will maintain the rights of water supply coming from lake Hodges. The City agreed to the deal on Sept. 30th, the SDWD agreed on Oct. 15th, while the SFID agreed on Oct. 29th.
In another joint agreement between the Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD), SDWD, and SFID, maintenance of pipeline systems will be shared across the three entities. It is said to save $100,000 in planned capital expenditures and additional savings over the course of the 20-year contract from the shared maintenance plan.
The following two sections are the press releases as posted on the Santa Fe Irrigation District website.
Agreement with City of San Diego Paves Way for Reoperation of Reservoir
The Santa Fe Irrigation District’s (SFID) Board approved an updated agreement with the City of San Diego and the San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) to preserve SFID and SDWD rights to local water supplies from Lake Hodges. SFID was the last of the three agencies to approve the agreement at its October 29, 2014 meeting. The agreement was approved by the SDWD Board of Directors on October 15, 2014 and the City of San Diego City Council on September 30, 2014. The agreement outlines how the three agencies will share local water supplies and costs now that Lake Hodges has been connected to the regional aqueduct system as part of the San Diego County Water Authority’s (SDCWA) Emergency Storage Project (ESP).
In a statement released by SFID, Michael T. Hogan, Board President stated, “The updated agreement recognizes and balances the complex needs of multiple stakeholders, including regional interests, while ensuring sound management of a valuable water supply for generations to come.”
Approval of the agreement settles a dispute that led to the Districts’ filing of a lawsuit against the City in 2008. That lawsuit was put aside in 2010 to allow the parties the opportunity to work together and negotiate a new agreement. The updated agreement outlines how the reservoir will be operated in the future with the goal of preserving local water supplies while effectively managing regional emergency storage needs. Keys terms of the agreement include the allocation of local water supplies, reservoir storage use and equitable cost sharing for reservoir operations, repairs and/or improvements.
SDWD Board President Tony Kranz stated “Locally controlled water supplies from Lake Hodges have played a significant role in the development of our communities and contribute to the quality of life we enjoy today.”
Lake Hodges has been a source of local surface water to SFID and SDWD (Districts), which serve the Cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas and unincorporated County lands since the 1920’s. The Districts’ Lake Hodges water supplies were augmented in 1948 with imported water supplies from the Colorado River following construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. In 1970, the Districts constructed the R.E. Badger Filtration Plant (REB), a 40 (MGD) million gallon per day conventional treatment plant to treat Lake Hodges and imported water supplies. Since that time, the REB plant treats and produces drinking water daily for over 50,000 residents and businesses in the SFID and SDWD services areas. Historically, local water supplies from Lake Hodges have provided 30% and 40% of the total annual water needs for SFID and SDWD, respectively.
Efficiencies Will Yield Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Savings to Ratepayers
Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD), Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID), and San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) have reached an agreement to protect water infrastructure in North County by jointly managing pipeline protection systems across the three agencies.
Metal pipeline protection systems known as “cathodic protection” utilize an electrical current to protect pipelines from corrosion. All three agencies currently utilize these systems independently. However, each agency determined that efficiencies could be gained by a shared approach to maintaining their systems, especially where pipelines run adjacent to one another or intersect.
It is estimated that each agency will save approximately $100,000 in planned capital expenditures, plus small ongoing savings through shared maintenance costs over the 20-year term of the contract.
“Our individual agencies don’t operate in a vacuum. It’s important for us to seize opportunities to work with our neighbors to better protect our infrastructure and our ratepayers,” said Larry Watt, President of OMWD’s Board of Directors. “This cooperative arrangement will reduce future capital costs while continuing to protect our assets in the ground.”
SFID Board President Michael T. Hogan stated, “Our agencies have worked hard through the Tri-Agency Partnership Committee to identify projects and opportunities to work together, focusing on ones such as the joint pipeline protection system that will reduce costs for our agencies and increase operational efficiencies. The intent is to continue to work collaboratively and build on the success of this project.”
SDWD Board President Tony Kranz added, “By working together, all three agencies will be able reduce costs while increasing the protection of important pipelines. Increasing corrosion protection of pipelines reduces the risks of leaks and should increase the useful life of those pipelines.”
SFID’s Board of Directors approved the agreement at its meeting this morning. The agreement was approved by SDWD’s board on October 15 and by OMWD’s board on September 24.
The collaborative idea grew out of the Ad Hoc Tri-Agency Partnership Committee, made up of two board members and staff from each of the three agencies, which has met periodically since 2013. The purpose of the committee is to explore collaborative efforts that result in reduced costs, improved services, and/or increased efficiencies for the agencies.
Preliminary discussions are underway that may also ultimately see the City of Escondido sign on to the agreement.