The Santa Fe Irrigation District Board of Directors has approved an approximate 5% rate increase effective January 1, 2024. This rate increase is the full pass-through of costs from the San Diego County Water Authority, the region's wholesale water provider. The Water Authority provides desalinated water from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and imported water from the Colorado River and the State Water Project to 24 member agencies in San Diego County via the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This increase does not reflect any increase in costs from SFID; it only covers the revenue requirements to cover the cost of water purchased from the Water Authority.
SFID was able to mitigate any internal rate increase through sound fiscal management in the past year in anticipation of increased costs. In the Summer of 2022, the Department of Safety of Dams' restrictions on the Lake Hodges lake level significantly decreased access to local water supply. That local water, which averaged approximately 30% of SFID's annual supply mix, is a less expensive source than imported water from the Water Authority. SFID also adjusted investments to procure higher returns and modified operations to contain costs and maximize access to local supplies when available.
"Approving a rate increase is always a difficult decision by the Board of Directors," said Dana Friehuaf, Board Vice-President. "However, the expertise and ingenuity of our staff helped to control internal costs, and as a result, we are only passing on the costs of our wholesale water provider. The increase makes sense as we are using more imported water supplies in the foreseeable future due to restrictions on our local water supply from Lake Hodges. We will continue to find creative ways to manage our internal costs and remain active at the Water Authority to help with solutions to reduce costs for the benefits of our rate payers and communities."
The rate increase will go into effect on January 1, 2024, and customers will receive a notification in the mail with more details about the impact on their bill and when they can anticipate seeing the increase in their statement. They can also find additional information at sfidwater.org and monitor their water use with an online portal. Customers having trouble paying their bills can contact SFID customer service for assistance. There are a variety of programs available to assist customers.