02:19 13 October in News

Fairness and Equity at Stake in San Diego City Council Decision

Spring Valley, CA – A coalition of South Bay and East County elected officials, residents, business and community leaders are urging the San Diego City Council to support fair and equitable rates for recycled water. They warn that the City’s proposed single unitary water rate for all customers would unfairly overcharge the customers of the Otay Water District $1.2 million annually over the next six years for recycled water that is purchased from the City of San Diego.

The Fair Water Rates Coalition opposes the City of San Diego’s proposal to overcharge South Bay and East County in order to subsidize and undercharge the City of San Diego itself and other recycled water customers in the North of the City. The City buys recycled water from its North City Water Reclamation Plant and would itself reap a benefit of $326,000 annually by spreading the costs of that plant and its northern distribution system among the customers of the Otay Water District in the South Bay and East County through a single unitary rate.  The South Bay and East County, however, are served by the entirely separate and unconnected South Bay Water Reclamation Plant and should have a separate zone rate based on the costs of the South Bay system. The Metro Commission, comprised of representatives from each participating agency of the Metropolitan Sewer System, serves as an advisory body to the City Council and supports zone rates.

“We don’t oppose the City of San Diego recovering its justifiable costs,” said Mary Casillas Salas, Mayor of the City of Chula Vista, “but we strenuously object to a rate increase that’s not based on the cost of providing water service to the South Bay and instead is based on providing water service north of the City and to the City itself.”

“The proposed unitary recycled water rate unfairly impacts customers in the Otay Water District,” added County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “The Otay Water District is able to keep its costs down by owning and operating its own recycled water distribution system.”

“The residents and businesses in South Bay have wisely invested in the infrastructure that delivers recycled water throughout the district. They should not be forced to pay for infrastructure improvements that they will not benefit from,” said Councilmember David Alvarez. “I fought to ensure that the zonal rate was included as an option to be considered by the City Council. I stand with the Otay Water District and will continue to fight for a fair rate structure.”

The members of the Fair Water Rates Coalition include Mayor Mary Casillas Salas and the Chula Vista City Council, County Supervisors Greg Cox and Diane Jacob, San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez, State Senator Ben Hueso, the Southwestern College Board of Trustees, the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of eCommerce, the Eastlake Business Association, the Otay Mesa Property Owners Association, the Pacific Southwest Realtors Association, Pacific Hospitality, Eastlake Country Club, and the Otay Water District.