In May 2022, I represented OMWD at the three-day Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) conference in Sacramento. The conference brings together California water agencies, state policymakers, and others in the water industry. The conference is essential in the era of drought and environmental and water quality challenges. I attended programs on groundwater, water quality (including microplastics), new regulations, water law, operational responses to ongoing drought conditions, and water system consolidation rules and regulations. I will use this invaluable information to ensure that OMWD continues to provide its customers with safe, high-quality, and reliable water without wasteful spending or unnecessary rate increases.Read More...
Posted on 07 May 2022, 09:36 - Category: News
Posted on 26 Apr 2022, 14:59 - Category: News
OMWD is almost ready to officially roll out its AquaHawk ™ web portal, where customers can monitor their water use daily and receive threshold and use alerts through text messages. Statistics show that most customers who gain access to data about their water usage reduce their usage by about 15 percent. Please view the video above for more information, and here is a link to OMWD’s “My Water Use” website: https://www.olivenhain.com/mywateruse/. Acess the OMWD AquaHawk login page here: https://olivca.aquahawk.us/login
For more information, contact OMWD customer service at 760-753-6466.
Important Note: AquaHawk is now available to most OMWD customers, but a few areas still require upgrades.
Posted on 21 Apr 2022, 10:29 - Category: News
As a concern I first brought to the Board, the April 2022 meeting included additional consultant/staff presentations and recommendations on OMWD employee pension liabilities, first discussed at the March 2022 Board meeting. After a further presentation by consultant Mario Morales, the Board directed staff to prepare a draft policy setting a funding target that shall not be below 85%, based on the most current CalPERS’ Annual Valuation Report and a funding goal of 100%. Doing so will require significant yearly contributions to CalPERS, but in the long-term, it will save OMWD ratepayers millions of dollars over time and keep the budget stable. Staff will bring a draft of the District’s Pension Funding Policy to the Finance Committee and the Board in May or June.
The Board also reviewed the staff request to add one additional operations employee to OMWD’s employee count. Staff described additional operational burdens at the water treatment plant, and it recommended adding one additional water treatment plant operator. After many Board questions about the necessity of increasing employee count and alternatives, the Board accepted the staff's recommendation in order to maintain treatment plant infrastructure, equipment, and regulatory requirements and address increased maintenance needs.
Finally, the Board reviewed a staff recommendation to hire an engineering consultant after Requests for Proposals were issued. Board members, including myself, expressed concern that staff recommended a consultant providing a higher bid. The board asked staff to return to the next meeting with additional information justifying its recommendation.
You can review past and present Board and committee meeting agendas and background materials online at https://www.olivenhain.com/about-us/governing-board/board-meetings/.Read More...
Posted on 21 Apr 2022, 08:22 - Category: News
The San Dieguito Brackish Groundwater Desalination Project is OMWD’s largest potential capital expense. If the Board approved, the project would provide OMWD customers with about 10% of its water supply from a local groundwater source. The remaining 90% would still be purchased from OMWD’s water wholesalers.
Its estimated cost is $52,000,000, not including about $6M already expended for investigations dating to 2008. It is hoped that outside federal and state grants will cover about ¼ of the project costs. The Board will make a “go-no go” decision on whether to proceed with this complex project in the next 12-24 months after additional technical and feasibility studies are completed.
There are benefits to OMWD having some locally sourced water, but there are also substantial economic and legal risks.
Please follow this link to the staff and consultant reports submitted at a public project workshop conducted on March 30, 2022: www.olivenhain.com/wp-content/uploads/033022.pdf.
Public awareness and participation in deciding whether to fund this project are essential.Read More...
Posted on 30 Mar 2022, 07:17 - Category: News