Scrutinizing MWD Policies and Practices

Scrutinizing MWD
Policies and Practices

The Water Authority closely monitors and analyzes all MWD board policies and practices and, when necessary, challenges them to protect the interests of the San Diego region’s ratepayers.

Unlike cities and other public water suppliers throughout Southern California that have made difficult decisions to reduce services and expenditures as a result of declining revenues, MWD has actually increased spending. These MWD costs are the largest single driver of higher water rates in the San Diego region. MWD has increased its spending even as its revenues have been insufficient to cover its costs in five of the last eight years (2005-2012).  Its revenues failed to pay its operating expenses although it had also re-directed planned pay-as-you-go spending for capital programs toward paying for operating costs.  

In March, MWD staff proposed average rate increases of 7.5 percent for calendar year 2013 and 5 percent for calendar year 2014. However, Water Authority analysis determined MWD had not made prudent reductions to its budget to lessen the increase. The Water Authority organized stakeholders to attend MWD’s Board meetings and urge its Board to lower the rate increases. Dozens of concerned community leaders, ordinary citizens, and water agency managers provided comments to MWD’s board.  

The outcry over unnecessary rate increases eventually prompted MWD to adopt lower average rate increases of 5 percent for 2013 and 2014, a result that will save San Diego County’s ratepayers $5 million in 2013.

The Water Authority also launched a new web site -- – and Twitter feed (@MWDFacts) in March to provide greater information and transparency into MWD’s governance. These resources spotlight MWD facts and documents about finance, governance, ethics and other policies for greater public awareness and review. By June, had more than 12,000 visitors.