May 24, 2011 (Spring Valley)– The Otay Water District’s (the District) Board of Directors has approved its budget for fiscal year 2011-2012. The budget adopted by the District includes a rate increase of 7.7 percent for water service and a 7.5 percent rate increase for sewer effective January, 2012.
"The $78.1 million operating budget and $22.6 million Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) budget reflect the District’s ongoing efforts to lessen the impact of higher water costs on customers," a press release issued by the district stated.
Though the impact of the supply shortage has lessened this year, the region’s wholesale water suppliers, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA), project a combined rate increase of 10 percent in 2012. The District’s rate increase reflects a 100 percent pass-through from water wholesalers.
One of the most pressing challenges faced by San Diego County water districts in recent years has been the higher cost of potable water from MWD and CWA. The cost of water makes up nearly half of the District’s operating budget and any change in the price of water has a significant impact on the overall budget.
“The District is committed to minimizing the impact of higher wholesale water rates on its customers,” said District Board President Jaime Bonilla. “We are continuing to increase the efficiency of the District’s operations while remaining focused on building the infrastructure necessary to secure diverse and reliable water supplies for the future.”
To keep rate increases minimal, the District continues to leverage investments in technology to do more with less. With automated services for customers such as online bill pay, paperless billing and a new interactive phone system, the District continues to improve customer service and operational efficiency, while reducing operating costs.
The $22.6 million capital improvement projects budget represents the District’s ongoing commitment to developing a more reliable water supply and to fund capital projects in a gradually recovering local economy.