LAKEWOOD, Calif., June 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 2016-17 Replenishment Assessment (RA) for the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD), which manages the groundwater in the southern portion of Los Angeles County, will take effect on July 1, 2016. Despite six years of drought conditions impacting Southern California and steep rises in imported water, the WRD Board of Directors recently passed a moderate 5% increase and rejected an alternative plan that called for 13.78% increase. The new rate represents an annual increase of about 58¢ per month for a family of four.
"I'm proud of our board of directors and the WRD staff for positioning us to limit water rate increases for the coming year through the use of recycled water despite an ongoing drought throughout Southern California," stated WRD Vice President Rob Katherman. "I'm especially grateful to WRD's Budget Advisory Committee for working with WRD to develop a rate plan that minimizes the impact on ratepayers throughout the district."
Since 2012, the rate assessment has increased an average of 3.9% in the face of drought conditions. In at least two of those years, the Board did not increase rates at all. Comparatively, this past year the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California increased rates 12.1%. However, with the intentional decreased use of imported water for groundwater replenishment, the impact on WRD has been limited.
WRD Treasurer Albert Robles added "WRD carefully worked with the groundwater pumping community to limit increases in administrative and operating costs for the coming years. Years of mindful planning and analysis have provided us the flexibility to meet rising costs without unduly burdening ratepayers and working families."
Another factor minimizing increases in the replenishment assessment is WRD's Water Independence Now (WIN) Program. In conjunction with WRD's partners the County Sanitation Districts and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, the WIN Program increases the use of recycled water and stormwater runoff to replenish the groundwater supply. The WIN Program will soon eliminate WRD's demand for replenishment water imported from Northern California and the Colorado River through the construction of an advanced water treatment facility in the City of Pico Rivera, known as the Groundwater Reliability Improvement Project (GRIP). This effort has already begun providing savings to the cost of managing the groundwater resources, which comprise 50% of the overall water supply in WRD's service area.
"The cost of groundwater is less than a third of the cost of imported water. WRD's efforts to keep rate increases at a minimum will go far in allowing local groundwater pumpers to maintain affordable water rates to customers," stated WRD Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) Chairman, Mark Grajeda. The BAC is an advisory group of local groundwater pumpers elected by the entire groundwater pumping community within WRD's service area.
The new rate is set at $297 per acre foot – enough water annually for two families of four.
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California is the regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater for two of the most utilized urban basins in the State of California. The service area is home to over ten percent of California's population residing in 43 cities in southern Los Angeles County. WRD is governed by a publicly elected Board of Directors which includes Willard H. Murray, Jr., Robert Katherman, Lynn Dymally, Sergio Calderon, and Albert Robles.
For more information, please visit WRD at www.wrd.org
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SOURCE Water Replenishment District of Southern California