EVMWD Division One Update
On the first Wednesday of each month, I co-host a Coffee with Canyon Lake Mayor, Kasey Castillo at the Canyon Lake Country Club. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions about upcoming rate discussions, financial assistance, water quality concerns, the potential drought declaration or any other water or wastewater questions/concerns you may have. The Coffee begins at 7:30 a.m. All are welcome. If you are unable to join us, but would like to meet, please contact me directly at Dburke@burkeforwater.com or call me at (951) 634-9019, and we will find a time that is convenient.
The City of Canyon Lake is currently seeking interns. College students studying government, politics, business or law enforcement are encouraged to apply. There are currently four Administration Intern positions available as well as two Public Safety Internships. For more information, please contact Tyler Ferrari at TFerrari@CanyonLakeCA.gov.
Canyon Lake Treatment Plant
Beginning in July, the Canyon Lake Treatment Plant will undergo a water quality pilot study, design work and related efforts. Since the State of California implemented new water quality requirements for a man-made chemical group, PFOA and PFOS, the Canyon Lake Treatment Plant has been offline and is expected to remain so until 2025. This plant produces 10% of EVMWD’s total water supply. With the plant being offline, EVMWD has had to purchase additional imported water at a significantly higher price. The approved Board action enables water quality experts and staff to conduct a comprehensive study, ensuring the recommended technology is the best and most cost-effective option. The proposed treatment plan includes Granulated Activated Carbon and Ion Exchange, which will also improve the overall taste and odor issues.
Budget & Rates
On Thursday, June 24th, 2021, at 6:00 p.m., the EVMWD will consider a two-year budget as well as four-year water rates and sewer rates. You should have received a mailed notice explaining the proposed rates and related considerations. Should the new rate structure pass, the new rates will go into effect January 1, 2022.
Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) has had a number of budget workshops. During these meetings, staff provided a number of cost drivers that directly impact EVMWD including:
- The cost of imported water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California went up 3 % in January and will go up another 4% January 2022. With the Canyon Lake Water Treatment Plant offline, we are purchasing more imported water.
- Western Municipal Water District, which is our wholesale water agency and how we purchase imported water, is also currently conducting their budget and rate study.
- Southern California Edison has proposed a 21-26% increase in rate increases. That is not just for commercial users like EVMWD, that also impacts every residential customer. Double-digit increases are expected next year as well and potentially the year following.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USSEPA) and the State Water Resources Control Board have expanded required water sampling, both in frequency and in what we are testing for.
- Rising costs of Regulatory Compliance. One-third, or over thirty cents of every dollar goes directly to regulatory compliance. Those are costs that are completely out of our control, and as regulations become more stringent and there are more of them, that percentage rises.
- Rising Health Insurance costs. EVMWD has looked for cost saving as we are alternative health care providers, however, these costs continue to rise, and with impacts from COVID-19, there is little relief on the horizon.
- The service shut-off moratorium for non-payment. Since March 2020, when Governor Newsom implemented a moratorium on discontinuing water service for non-payment, that has cost EVMWD, and you, the ratepayers, approximately $1.5 million
I, along with my fellow Board members, understand the current economic climate as well as being sensitive to the financial impacts COVID-19 may have caused our ratepayers. Given the cost drivers, here are the proposed water rates over the next four years:
- Elsinore Division which includes Canyon Hills, Canyon Lake and Tuscany Hills
- Year One: 5.5%
- Year Two: 5.5%
- Year Three: 4.5%
- Year Four: 4.5%
- Temescal Division:
- Year One:11.0%
- Year Two: 11.0%
- Year Three:11.0%
- Year Four: 11.0%
- Recycled Water
- Year One: 5.0%
- Year Two: 4.0%
- Year Three: 5.0%
- Year Four: 3.50%
- Year One: 4.25%
- Year Two: 4.25%
- Year Three: 4.25%
- Year Four: 4.25%
I know rate increases are not popular, however I am available to discuss this issue or any other water or wastewater issues. Providing safe reliable water at an affordable price is our purpose. By being fiscally responsible, we ensure public health protection as well as regional economic stability. We are the only local water utility to provide any type of ongoing financial assistance. Our RARE Assistance Program was designed to help those that may be on a fixed income, such as our seniors and low-income residents. We are exploring opportunities for this program to help those that may be unemployed. It is important to note, that this program is not funded through your rates. Rather, to pay for this, we use cell tower lease revenue and other non-rate income sources.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship, have a question about your water service, need to make payment arrangements or are interested in the RARE assistance program, please contact EVMWD Customer Service during regular business hours at (951) 674-3146 or by email at email@example.com.
If you have questions or if I can be of assistance, please contact me directly at Dburke@burkeforwater.com or call me at (951) 634-9019.