Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drought Worse in Leucadia than in East Encinitas

by Mike Andreen, Executive Director, New Encinitas Business Network

Last year, both the local water districts, Olivenhain Water District and the San Dieguito Water District complied with statewide requirements that took the City of Encinitas from a Level 1 up to a Level 2 Water Conservation Measure.

By employing voluntary water use restrictions, the Level 1 Drought Watch was intended to generate sufficient water conservation to meet the 8% reduction and avoid penalties from the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA).

The good news is that the residents were successful in accomplishing the statewide goal and reducing their water consumption!

Half of the City of Encinitas gets their water from the Olivenhain Water District (OMWD); the Eastern side, while the Western half of the City is served by the San Dieguito Water District.

The week before last, the OMWD Board of Directors assessed the local and state water situation and voted to go back to a Level 1Drought Watch; this means water bills for residents and businesses served by OMWD would potentially go down because the District will no longer have the authority to charge extra due to “drought emergency” water rates imposed under a Level 2 drought watch. In Encinitas, as it would be all over, this is a blessing financially in these hard times.

Unfortunately, the businesses and homeowners on the West side of the City won’t be similarly rewarded for their good behavior if the staff of the San Dieguito Water District has its way.

Because the water district staff has recommended that the district stay at Level 2 and continue charging that premium for potable (drinking and cooking) water, as well as an additional $1,800 for a water meter if one has the good fortune to attempt to build a building.

OMWD and other local water districts are returning to Level 1, so why isn’t the San Dieguito Water District?

Most likely because the SDWD Staff likes the extra income derived from the higher water prices they get to charge at Level 2.

And that’s part of the problem.

The District has a financial incentive to claim drought, even when it isn’t real. Much like the boy who cried wolf, but we all remember how that story turned out, don’t we?

Returning to Level 1 would help business and homeowners with reduced rates in this recessionary economy.

Why make things purposefully harder Encinitas?

Hopefully the Board of the San Dieguito Water District will have the spine to impose the discipline their staff lacks, and make the proper decision to return the water district to a Level 1 with voluntary curtailment of water use, no extra fee for a water meter, and reduced water prices, because that reflects the reality of the situation, and is the right thing to do.

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  1. I have a source in the water industry who says that SDWD is completely incompetent, overpaid, and bureaucratic.

    Not only does Olivenhain pay much lower rates, they actually have good drinking water. West Encinitas pays much higher rates for water that tastes like ass.

  2. SDWD isn't doing much to help us improve our situation either. There are reclaimed water sprinklers on city property just on the other side of the wall from my yard. There are 4 meters about 10 feet from my property. I went to SDWD to ask what it would take to get reclaimed water into my yard. The answer was "about $30,000" to add a meter and have an engineer check out that my irrigation was properly marked as reclaimed.

    I also have 2 meters, one is a standard 5/8" residential and the other is a 2". I went in to have them remove the 5/8" and they did everything they could to convince me that I really needed both, even though the 5/8" is not connected to anything. Also, you don't get that $1,800 back when you remove a meter. You pay about $200.

  3. That is the smartest argument that Mike Andreen has ever thought up. For the first time I agree with him.

  4. I agree with the fact that this "sign in shit" is stupid. Anyone can be anon and most are. I could T off on how fucking stupid our council is for all so many things... or I could T off on oh so many people.

    The bottom line is its all so anonymous. Please JP, stop with the restrictions on free comments (speech!). PLEASE!

    At this point your only commentary are from the stubborn fucks like myself, W.C. Varones, and a few councilmembers. Its getting really boring

  5. I agree the current post restrictions are stupid.

  6. do you notice we are all the same and not Lynn. We are anon

  7. Last night at the city council meeting council candidate Kristin Gaspar spoke. She read Mike Andreen's comments verbatim, pretending she had done her own research. Jerome Stock immediately jumped in to agree.

    It was a carefully orchestrated ploy to get the drought restrictions removed and the development machine going again. The other four council members didn't fall for it. James Bond spoke lucidly about the reasons to maintain Level Two restrictions. On water issues he makes sense. This is about long term planning, not short term expediency.

    It's true that SDWD has been used as a cash cow for the city's General Fund. This problem was created as the district lost its independence starting many years ago. We need an independent water district in west Encinitas, not more profligate use of water. After all we live in a coastal desert area and can't depend on an expectation of unlimited water supplies.

  8. Thanks Cardiffian. I too noticed the choreographed performance of Gaspar to Stocks. And, yes, it seems Ms. Gaspar seems to take credit for initiating work or viewpoints of others. Nothing wrong with us all echoing information we think important, but, this is self-promotion plain and simple.

    Conserving water makes sense on so many levels. Nobody is suffering here. Promoting a return to waste to save pennies on the dollar is wrongheaded.


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