Proposed Budget - FY 17-18
The Water Agency has proposed a wholesale water rate increase for its water transmission budget that would average $.90 per month, or $12 a year for the typical household in Santa Rosa. The Water Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday, April 11th approved adoption of the Fiscal Year 2017/18 Water Transmission Budget which funds the ongoing maintenance of more than 100 miles of underground pipelines and supporting facilities. More than 600,000 residents rely on this underground pipeline system for their drinking water. The budget also includes funding for environmental restoration efforts along the Russian River and Dry Creek, two major natural pipelines that help deliver water from Lake Sonoma to groundwater wells.
How Rates Are Set:
Wholesale water rates are determined by using a calculation outlined under an agreement between the Water Agency and its water contractors. This document, called the Restructured Agreement for Water Supply (Restructured Agreement), requires the Water Agency to set rates based on budgeted operations and maintenance costs and past water sales. Water transmission rates are calculated by first identifying the funding necessary to operate, maintain, and improve the Water Agency’s transmission system and dividing this amount by either the amount of water delivered over the last twelve months or the average annual amount of water delivered over the last three years; whichever is less. The Restructured Agreement also requires the Water Agency Board of Director’s to approve wholesale water rates by April 30 of each year.
FY15-16 Actual Water Deliveries saw a 20% decrease from budgeted deliveries. Other Bay Area water agencies are increasing rates 17-18% this year to compensate for the reduction in water deliveries during the recent drought. Our wholesale water rate increase this fiscal year is considerably less than other comparable Bay Area wholesale water providers.
The Water Agency has proactively reduced its operations and maintenance costs by 9% over the past 10 years. The proposed rate increase aligns with the Water Agency's Long Range Financial Plan which plans annual rate increases of 4-6% and allows us to meet our operating and capital needs while minimizing rate spikes. We are able to reduce the impact on our ratepayers by reducing expenditures, reducing power costs, and deferring maintenance projects and other studies wherever possible. The use of $860,000 in grants, fund balance, and bond proceeds helped reduce the rate increase even further.
Wholesale water rates are increasing due to:
- Funding for capital projects: Projects include natural hazard mitigation and critical fisheries protection projects as well as maintenance projects to ensure a reliable and secure water supply system that delivers clean, affordable drinking water to our community. It is our goal to secure our future by investing in our water resources and infrastructure. This budget allows the Agency to meet the operations, maintenance, capital, and regulatory demands of the system.
- Regulatory obligations to secure water supply: Costs of implementing projects required in the coming year by the Russian River Biological Opinion. The Biological Opinion is a 15-year recovery plan to implement the mandates of the National Marine Fisheries Service as they relate to threatened and endangered fish in the Russian River and its tributaries. Funding for implementing these projects will be sought from federal and state agencies, including Water Agency water contractors.
FY 17-18 Proposed Water Rates
- Santa Rosa Aqueduct - $846.78/Acre-foot - 4.98% increase
- Petaluma Aqueduct - $846.78/Acre-foot - 4.98% increase
- Sonoma Aqueduct - $944.56/Acre-foot - 5.58% increase
Draft Budget Documents:
- Draft documents will be published here when complete.
- Proposed Budget, FY 2017-2018 - Presentation to Technical Advisory Committee 3/6/17
- Proposed Budget, FY 2017-2018 - Presentation to the Board of Directors 4/11/17
- Proposed Budget, FY 2017-2018 - Board of Directors Agenda Item 4/11/17
For more information:
Please contact Michael Gossman at (707) 521-6207 or Michael.Gossman@scwa.ca.gov