San Lorenzo Valley Water District Board of Directors Approves Drought Surcharge

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Customers can expect to see a monthly increase of $4.00 on average

NOV. 20, 2015 — BOULDER CREEK, CA — The San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) today announced its Board of Directors unanimously approved a Drought Recovery and Water Capital Surcharge at its meeting Thursday, Nov. 19, to make up a drought-caused revenue shortfall that impacts capital improvement projects already underway.

The increase of $1.00 per unit of water sold goes into effect for all bills sent after Jan. 1, 2016. The intent of the surcharge is to collect sufficient revenue to fund capital projects that the District has committed to complete — including Emergency Interties 2, 3, 4 and 6, as well as the Probation Tank, Swim Tank and Fall Creek Fish Ladder — while maintaining reserve funds for emergencies. Tying the charge to consumption continues to encourage conservation.

“This surcharge will allow the District to complete critically important capital improvement projects that are strongly supported by our customers or required by the State,” said Brian Lee, SLVWD General Manager. “We greatly appreciate our customers supporting the District’s efforts to increase fire protection and disaster preparedness, as well as fix leaking tanks and sustain watershed health through these projects.”

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District Board voted unanimously at its meeting on Aug. 20, 2015, to proceed with the provisions of Proposition 218 to notify customers of the rate increase plan and hold a public hearing on the plan. Customers had the opportunity to protest the proposed rate increase. If written protests against the proposed Surcharge were filed at or prior to the end of the protest hearing by a majority of the affected property owners, the District Board would not have approved the surcharge. 132 customers filed written protests.

The District finalized a five-year rate study in 2013 that provided yearly revenue projections based on planned operational and capital costs for the years 2013-2017. The Board at that time approved rates for 2014, 2015 and 2016 based on the results of that rate study. But since then, California has suffered a severe drought. In response to state and local calls to conserve water, SLVWD customers have reduced water consumption by over 25% since 2013. These conservation efforts are invaluable to the continued health of the San Lorenzo Watershed and the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin, upon which the District’s entire water supply relies.

However, conservation efforts have a negative impact on District revenue. In 2013 the District rate-study projected water revenue of $6.37 million for the fiscal year 2016. In June 2015 the Board approved a FY2016 budget projecting fiscal year water revenue of just $5.6 million.

“Conservation has been critically important during this historic drought and we value our customers’ efforts to reduce their water use,” Lee said.

Rate Increases

Each unit of water sold will be assessed a $1.00 Surcharge. A unit of water is 748 gallons. An average household in San Lorenzo Valley Water District uses about 4 units of water per month. Therefore an average household will see an additional charge of $4.00 on their monthly bill identified as the Drought Recovery and Water Capital Surcharge.

ABOUT THE SAN LORENZO VALLEY WATER DISTRICT

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District is located in the mountains of northern Santa Cruz County. The district serves more than 7,500 metered connections. Established in 1941, the district supplies water to the communities of Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Zayante, Scotts Valley, Manana Woods and Felton. For more information, visit www.slvwd.com or www.facebook.com/slvwaterdistrict.

CONTACT:
Brian Lee, 831.430.4625 [email protected]

Bill Maxfield, 831.227.6469 [email protected]

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