San Juan Capistrano

                                                                                                                        Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: It is not our practice to respond to Letters to the Editor however, our records indicate that Councilman Kramer’s claims in his letter below about the true cost of water cry out for a little fact checking. Our observations are printed at the end of his letter.
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) Rates

By Councilman Larry Kramer

There seems to be a feeling or belief that if we only imported water from MWD that there would have been little or no water rate increases over the past few years. That is not true.

MWD has increased water rates an average of 7.4% per year over the past 10 years. The increases have varied from under 2% to nearly 20%. What this means to the average customer is that if your water bill were about $50 in 2004 it would be over $100 in 2014.

Over a longer span of time the MWD average rate increase has been about 5%. Thus in calculating the new water rates in San Juan Capistrano, the city is assuming that MWD will continue to increase rates at 5% annually.

Fact Check: Councilman Kramer omits the fact that the City has increased its rates by 112.6% during the same 10-year period he mentioned (from 2004 to 2014). And the council majority of Kramer, Allevato and Taylor just voted to increase water rates an additional 34% over the next 5 years, which will bring SJC’s rate increases to 146% since 2004. In addition to the MWD rate increases, the City was forced to increase rates to cover expenses of the underperforming Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP) plus the staff for maintenance and operations of the facility.

The rate payers are in reality supporting two water systems; the MWD and the GWRP, resulting in water rate increases that exceed 12% per year. The solution should be to seek the most efficient and cost effective method of providing water service. The obvious choice is the one that saves money and has the capacity to deliver water in the long run. The MWD currently serves 19 million Southern California customers with a proven track record of over 80 years of uninterrupted service, at a cost that is less than water produced by the GWRP.

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