Watchdog: On water regulations and a possible rate increase in Antioch

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Last year Governor Jerry Brown mandated a emergency water cutback in urban areas, although we all know that it’s agriculture that’s using the majority of water in this state.  Ironically,  many California homeowners and businesses do not have water meters and are charged a flat monthly rate. (It’s estimated that unmetered communities use 39% more water than metered communities.)  Although a 1992 state law requires all new homes have a water meter, a state law passed in 2004 merely requires homes built before that date be retrofitted by 2025, nine years away.

This year the emphasis from public agencies is to have residents replace their lawns with water-wise landscaping.  Let me caution those who have been told they can receive rebates to do so.  I took at look at the Contra Costa Water District website.  At first glance your eyes are drawn to the CCWD Lawn to Garden Rebate Program which states “The rebate is $1.00 per sq. ft. with a maximum of $1,000 per single family residence and up to $20,000 for commercial, homeowner associations, industrial and institutional properties.”  What you might not notice folks is the paragraph entitled Potential Federal Tax on Rebates.  That’s right folks, the CCWD will issue a IRS 1099 tax form which you will have to disclose as income when you file your tax forms next year.

CCWD directors also cut a back door deal with the state, agreeing to drop objections to Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels proposal if the state provides enough upstream water to mitigate an expected increase in salinity if the project proceeds.   Time to replace those directors as well as asking any candidate for local or state office where they stand on this vital issue.

Fortunately,  Contra Costa and San Joaquin County Counties and several environmental organizations filed suit in San Joaqiuin County Superior Court to stop the Metropolitan Water District from purchasing five Delta island tracts which would aid Gov. Brown’s proposed twin tunnels plan, dubbed “Delta Peripheral Canal plan revisited”  a former failed plan to ship our water south.

Additionally, Senate Bill 1713 introduced by Assembly Member Susan  Eggman (D-Stockton), Principal coauthor Senator Wolk and coauthored by Assembly members Baker, Bonilla, Cooley, Cooper, Frazier, McCarty and Olsen would prohibit the construction of a peripheral canal unless authorized by an initiative voted on by the voters of California on or after January 1, 2017 for any infrastructure project that conveys water directly from a diversion point in the Sacramento River to pumping facilities of the State Water Project at the federal Central Valley Project south of the Delta. The bill also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to complete a economic feasibility analysis prior to a vote.

NOTE:  In May 2015, the Antioch City Council mandated that residents reduce water consumption by 28%, not water outdoor plants more than three days a week,  not water between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  or wash driveways, sidewalks or other hard surfaces with hoses that don’t have a shut-off  nozzle, etc.  Restaurants were told not to serve water unless requested by the customer  and residents advised to report violators who would be fined $100 per day for the first violation, and up to $500 a day for continuing violations.  The ordinance has not as yet been redacted.

Council is holding a public hearing on May 24 to raise numerous rates, one of which is water usage.  Is that due to reduced water revenues from water restrictions or transfer of water funds into the General Fund?

One Comment to “Watchdog: On water regulations and a possible rate increase in Antioch”

  1. Arne says:

    When the water at the City of Antioch’s intake on the San Joaquin River becomes too salty (Brackish), it has to purchase water from CCWD (which is a Contact Agency with the State Department of Water Resources). When that occurs, the State, under a 1928 lawsuit Antioch filed that went all the way to the California Supreme Court, the State reimburses Antioch for one-third of that cost.
    This is the reason that the City is pursuing a Brackish Water Desalination Plant which would significantly reduce the cost of providing treated water to its residents because the City of Antioch has very Senior Pre-1914 Water Rights. The water costs us nothing and rate payers would only pay for the pumping, treating and distribution of the water.

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