Protecting Our Future Together
The District’s service area urbanized mostly between 1960-1985. During that time, water mains were installed by private developers and inspected by CHWD staff. These water mains became donated assets to the District, and it became CHWD’s responsibility to operate, maintain, and replace them.
Today, CHWD operates and maintains over 250 miles of pipeline that distribute water throughout the District’s 12.8-square-mile service area. The life span of a water main is approximately 70 years, which means replacement must begin in 2030 to ensure long-term water reliability. With a technical team of engineering and financial experts, CHWD’s Customer Advisory Committee evaluated how to phase, cost, and fund replacement of more than 70% of our water mains.
Key Documents & Links
Why This Project and Why Now?
Just because water mains are underground and cannot be seen does not make them any less important. Reliable water mains deliver water to our residences and businesses. Water main failure can be caused by multiple issues including age, pipe material, and location (tree roots, spanning creeks, etc.). Failed water mains can lead to service disruptions and water loss.
CHWD is planning for the future today. Preparing to replace water mains before they reach critical condition is the safest and most cost-efficient way to address aging infrastructure. Proactively replacing pipes minimizes disruptions to homes, schools, and businesses - versus waiting for a crisis situation that could lead to service disruption and a greater economic and financial cost.
Reliable water delivery infrastructure promotes healthy, livable communities and strong local economies. With support from the current and next generation of CHWD’s customers, we can protect our water future and keep taps flowing with clean, safe and reliable water for families, businesses, and the community, today and in the future.
Project 2030 Decision Process: Customer Advisory Committee (CAC) Role
Recognizing the significant need ahead, the CHWD Board of Directors and management team called together a group of customers in 2018 and 2019 to study the issue and put forth their recommendations. The Customer Advisory Committee (CAC) is comprised of 24 community members who came together and dedicated their time and effort on behalf of their neighbors and fellow business owners to explore, in-depth, a difficult problem and work through 21 separate scenarios to find the best and most fair recommendation for the community.
This CAC worked with CHWD staff and a technical team to consider the water main replacement options while analyzing key financial and technical issues that promote equity of funding between today’s and future CHWD customers. The CAC then presented its recommendation to the CHWD Board of Directors on June 8, 2021. The Board approved the CAC’s recommendation and developed a plan to fund work through 2080. The proposed plan implements a dedicated water main replacement charge, which promotes transparency and accountability.
Remaining ahead of anticipated water main replacement needs will minimize system failure, service disruption, and failure-related expenses due to deferred replacements.
Frequently Asked Questions
The project will be undertaken in phases over 50 years to replace 70 percent of CHWD’s water mains.
Since CHWD is an independent special irrigation district, it does not receive any taxpayer funds. 97% of CHWD’s revenue is funded from charges billed to customers for the cost of the services provided and reinvested – without profit – into the resources needed to ensure a safe, clean and reliable water supply.
The CHWD Board approved the CAC’s recommendation and developed a plan to fund work through 2080. The proposed plan implements a dedicated water main replacement charge, which promotes transparency and accountability.
The dedicated water main replacement charge on the customer’s bill is proposed to take effect beginning January 2022.
As water mains age, they become more prone to failure. A single failure can lead to a cascade of issues including service disruptions and potential property damage. The least expensive and most efficient way to address this is through a proactive, planned approach.
We understand that rate or surcharge changes have an impact on all of our customers. That is why the CAC worked with CHWD to develop an equitable solution for the entire community. State law prohibits the District from collecting from any customer more than the amount required to provide water service. In the eyes of the State, if a reduced rate were provided to customers on fixed incomes, other ratepayers would subsidize the low “reduced rate” ratepayers. Those paying for the subsidy would be paying in excess of the cost of service to their parcel, which is in violation of state law. This prevents CHWD from offering a low-income rate program or Customer Assistance Program. If this state law changes, CHWD Board will revisit its rate schedule.
As an independent irrigation district, CHWD is not funded by tax revenues.