San Diego Metropolitan
Water Authority Postpones $150 Million in Capital Projects
March 28, 2011
The San Diego County Water Authority has postponed a total of $150 million in capital projects in response to lowered short-term water demand forecasts. Last week, the board deferred three projects totaling $68 million until at least July 2014, which followed on the heels of another 11 project deferrals that were made in January. The deferrals are projected to reduce wholesale rate increases from capital projects by $17 to $22 per acre-foot during the deferral period.
Last week’s action deferred construction of a flow regulatory structure, a pipeline and a control valve facility. The board said critical water reliability projects, including the San Vicente Dam Raise, are still moving forward.
The Water Authority plans to evaluate some of the deferred projects to reassess their need, scope and timing.
According to the Water Authority, water use in the region has decreased 20 percent since 2007 due to a combination of factors, including the economy, cooler and wetter conditions over the last 18 months, public response to both voluntary conservation and mandatory water use restrictions and increases in water rates. Current projections indicate water demand will increase gradually over time, though not as much or as quickly as prior estimates expected, the Water Authority said.
Other steps the Water Authority is taking include: reducing Water Authority staff by 12 percent from fiscal year 2008 levels; cutting $6 million from the current two-year operating budget by eliminating, reducing or deferring a range of programs, services, outreach and other costs; and reducing the current budget by an additional $1.4 million by not filling vacant positions and deferring equipment replacement purchases