On an annual basis, West Basin reviews and adopts water rates. This year, on April 28, 2014, the Board of Directors of the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) approved West Basin's water rates for Fiscal Year 2014-2015. West Basin's rate is referred to as a Reliability Service Charge (RSC) and it is added to the rates charged by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) for imported water. West Basin's reliability charge supports projects and programs to maintain or improve reliability and is small compared to the overall cost of importing water. For example, a recent State Audit in examining one South Bay water retailer's bill indicated that West Basin contributes 8% of local water costs. The RSC allows West Basin to efficiently manage and ensure a high-quality, reliable source of water for 17 coastal Los Angeles cities.
West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) is a wholesale water agency that manages the water supply for 17 coastal Los Angeles cities. Most of Southern California uses a mixture of imported water and local water supplies consisting of groundwater (well water), conserved water, recycled water and other supplies. In Southern California, approximately half of the water used is imported from 200-400 miles away and the other half comes from local water supplies.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) procures water from the State Water Project and imports water from the Colorado River to provide supplies to West Basin's service area. Metropolitan's water rates pay for the treatment of drinking water, the operation and maintenance of treatment facilities, conveyance structures, energy costs and other fees needed to bring water hundreds of miles from Northern California and the Colorado River.
West Basin ensures that a reliable supply of high quality water is available for every community. West Basin sells water to eight separate water agencies and companies, or retail water providers. Depending on the city in which you live, your provider will have access to a mix of imported water, local groundwater, conserved water and recycled water for your community. Each water source has a different cost, and subsequently, your water rates vary.
West Basin's cost to manage the water supply for coastal Los Angeles is called a Reliability Service Charge (RSC). This cost is added to the imported water rates charged by Metropolitan. West Basin's RSC is generally a small part of overall water costs, approximately 10%. West Basin is a water wholesale agency and its customers are nine water agencies and cities: California American Water, California Water Service Company, Golden State Water Company, Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29, the cities of El Segundo, Inglewood, Lomita and Manhattan Beach, and the Water Replenishment District.
The RSC makes water reliability possible. West Basin has local and reliable water supply programs made up of recycling and conservation, and, more recently, research into ocean water desalination through a Temporary Ocean Water Desalination Demonstration Facility. The water supplies that West Basin produces here in the South Bay are locally-controlled and drought-proof. This reliability investment not only makes our future water supplies more secure, it also helps Metropolitan meet its future needs and reduces Southern California's dependence on distant water sources.
West Basin is always looking for ways to keep costs down and finds funding partners to be as efficient as possible and keep rates fair. During times of water shortages and rationing, West Basin customers are less likely to be subjected to increased costs for water (sometimes two or three times normal rates) due to water saved through investments made in recycling and conservation programs. Providing value is a high priority for this water agency. West Basin has been able to secure outside investment for one-third for its recycling facilities and West Basin's conservation programs provide $3 worth of programs to the community for each $1 West Basin contributes.
West Basin's rate increases are generally needed to pay for increased costs of chemicals, energy, and facility replacement and refurbishment, provide water use efficiency programs and research new local water supply sources such as ocean water desalination.
West Basin and Metropolitan are proactively investing in diverse water supplies as solutions to imported water supply challenges. West Basin continues to invest in additional reliable, local water supplies through its Water Reliability 2020 (WR2020) program. By 2020 West Basin plans to reduce its dependence on imported water by 50 percent through continued investments in recycled water, conservation and responsible ocean water desalination
If you're interested in touring the West Basin facilities mentioned above, please click here. We also have a Speakers Bureau available to speak to your group. Please call West Basin as 310-660-6200 to schedule a speaker or a tour.