The District is a service organization. Providing reliable drinking water available to all our customers 24/7 is a labor-intensive operation. Most District jobs require either a college degree or State certification and specialized training to operate treatment and distribution facilities. Recruiting and retaining this well-qualified workforce that can provide the level of service our customers expect and deserve is expensive and we try to be transparent with the public about that.
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Just like our customers, the District is also subject to the current inflationary environment. Here are some examples of increases in major cost components:
The District would prefer to have ample water supply and no surcharge. Unfortunately, due to several years of drought conditions, we do need our customers to reduce water consumption to maintain our supplies of this critical resource. That conservation, while needed to preserve water supplies, reduces District revenues. However, most of the costs of operating the water system do not vary based on the amount of water consumption. Temporary surcharges are needed to ensure financial sufficiency to continue to operate the water system in a prudent and sustainable manner during the drought. They will be rescinded as soon as the District has sufficient water supplies to rescind the water use restrictions.
These heavy rain events will help bolster our water supplies, but it is too early to say just how much. The State has been suffering from a large, multi-year rainfall deficit. These significant storms early in the season are promising, but they are not guaranteed to last – as we saw last year, the storm track can quickly dry up. During these short periods of intense rainfall, much of the water cannot be captured and does not benefit Californians and our local water supply. The District also relies heavily on imported water supplies, and they are still cut back but this wet start to the season is a good sign. As the season progresses, we should have a better picture of how local and imported water supplies are shaping up.