On April 21, the Board of Directors of the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency adopted higher rates for the next five years to fund projects and programs to help stop groundwater overdraft and seawater intrusion.
Augmentation charge for a rural residence is $115 now and will rise to $163 on July 1, 2025.
Augmentation charge inside delivered water zone is $338 per acre-foot now and will rise to $486 per acre foot on July 1, 2025.
Augmentation charge outside delivered water zone is $246 per acre-foot now and will rise to $346 per acre foot on July 1, 2025.
Delivered water charge is $392 per acre-foot now and will rise to $501 per acre-foot on July 1, 2025.
An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons of water.
The new charges for delivered water and groundwater augmentation will provide the revenue to support construction of the College Lake Integrated Resources Management Project, the Watsonville Slough System Managed Aquifer Recharge and Recovery Projects, water conservation programs, along with planning and permitting activities. The projects will add much needed supply to the agency’s supplemental water system. Use of supplemental water offsets groundwater production while helping to keep agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.
“As a grower, I pay for water. I pay for a lot of water and it’s very costly,” said Javier Zamora, who is on the water agency’s board and spoke during the public hearing. “I am not getting more money for my strawberries or vegetables but it is part of doing business. I can tell you this will be a difficult pill for me to swallow, very difficult.”
But he supported the increases, saying, “If we don’t do it, who else is going to come in and do it? No one will come with a magic wand and eliminate saltwater intrusion and say, ‘keep pumping as much as you want’ unfortunately that is not the case. We need to collaborate as individuals and community members and face our problem. We have to tackle things right away and not leave it for mañana. We gotta get it done and that’s what the Agency is trying to do.”
Leading up to the April 21 public hearings and vote on the rate setting ordinances, PV Water hosted a series of rate setting public workshops to provide information and respond to questions on the 2021 Cost of Service Rate Study.
An Ad Hoc Funding Committee, composed of ratepayers with representation from the City of Watsonville, small water districts, growers of different sizes and commodities, and individual well owners, reviewed and recommended for Board approval the rate study in February 2021.
On Feb. 17, the Board adopted the Rate Study and Resolution 2021-05 Adopting Procedures for Public Hearing, Notice, and Protest Concerning Proposed Revisions to Augmentation Charge and Delivered Water Charge.
The rate structures, which include an augmentation charge based on pumped groundwater subject to Proposition 26, and a delivered water charge subject to Proposition 218 for blended recycled water supplied to growers in the coastal area, are similar to the rate structures in place.
The Rate Study provides the documentation to comply with Proposition 26, Proposition 218, and other legal requirements.
Pajaro Valley Water is a state-chartered water management district formed to efficiently and economically manage existing and supplemental water supplies in order to prevent further increase in and to accomplish continuing reduction of, long-term overdraft. The agency also works to provide and ensure sufficient water supplies for present and future anticipated needs within its boundaries, generally the greater coastal Pajaro Valley.