The May SVCA program was presented by Armando Buelna, the Communication Officer for Otay Water District, a
timely program given the current water shortage for Southern California. Approximately 80% of the water consumed
in San Diego comes from outside the county (54% is imported from the Colorado River, 28% from Northern California,
with 18% from local sources). Otay is one of 24 member agencies that make up the San Diego County Water
Currently part of the supply problem has to do with pumping restrictions out of northern California, this having to do
with the Endangered Species Act, too many of a particular fish getting sucked into the pumps, this is being worked on
by introducing screens to keep the fish out of the pumps. Other contributing factors have to do with the major reservoirs
drawn down to low levels and drought conditions affecting the Colorado River (8 of last 10 years) and of
course in California (66% of normal precipitation in 2009).
The good news is that Otay believes it can avoid mandatory restrictions (level 2) based on the water reduction by its
users to date; of course it encourages all of us to continue being frugal with our water and again avoid having mandatory
restrictions placed on our district. As a reminder, Armando told us that 55% of the water used is for irrigation.
The bad news is that water rates will remain high. In 2005 the cost per Acre-Foot was $565, in 2009 it is $766 and in
2010 it is estimated at $990, that folks would be a 30% increase. Interesting that per Proposition 218 there is a provision
that says if 50% of customers write in and protest a rate increase, the board will reconsidered that increase;
however Armando warns that the infrastructure maintenance and improvements would suffer and there would be a
price to pay downstream. He cited such a case that happened in Rainbow and now they have the highest rates of the
24 member agencies, Otay is 7th. Armando sent us a chart that is too large for this issue, we will do an update in the
next issue and include that chart.