California Water Service (Cal Water) recently submitted an Infrastructure Improvement Plan for the Oroville District for years 2019-2021. The plan was submitted to an independent state agency and a separate state watchdog, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, for review and approval. In submitting the plan on July 2, Cal Water has initiated an 18-month review process.
The review process – also know as the Triennial Infrastructure Improvement Plan review – will include six steps; the first of which is the review by Cal Water of their historical and projected costs and identifying needed water system improvements. Upon completion the water agency submits an application to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the above referenced Office of Ratepayer Advocates. This step was completion as of the July 2 submission.
The next step is a choice by the PUC as to whether to hold a public hearing locally to receive input from customers on the application. The assigned Administrative Law Judge then issues a proposed decision, which may be different than the applicants’ Infrastructure Improvement Plan.
The fourth step allows The Office of Ratepayer Advocates and other parties to analyze the application and make their own recommendations. Step five is a possible formal hearing, similar to a court proceeding, if a settlement cannot be reached. Lastly, PUC commissioners vote to adopt, amend, modify or reject the Administrative Law Judge’s proposed decision. Final implementation is expected no sooner than January 2020, including revised budgets that reflect the actual cost of operating, maintaining, and upgrading the water system.
Cal Water’s Oroville Infrastructure Improvement Plan is proposed to include the replacement of 6,309 feet of water main to prevent the possible failure of aging and high-risk pipelines. Security enhancements are also included in the new plan to better protect the water system infrastructure as well as Cal Water’s employees and customers.
Additional components of the Oroville Infrastructure Improvement Plan include upgrades to the reservoir to increase supplies for customers and emergencies and rebuilding the booster pump station to enhance system reliability and water pressure. The plan also allows for emergency repairs for projects dedicated to unforeseen infrastructure needs.
The upgrades and increased costs to maintain and operate the system are anticipated to cost the typical customer – who uses an average of 7,480 gallons of per month – an additional 11 cents per day beginning in 2020. Typically, each Cal Water dollar is spent for the following:
Capital Improvements 40%
Water Production 9%
Other Operations and Maintenance 9%
Local Water Professionals (pump operators, utility workers, etc. 24%
Centralized Services (incl. water quality, engineering, etc.) 17%
Cal Water has maintained water services in the Oroville region since 1927. For additional information on Cal Water improvements – both current and proposed – in other California districts you can contact them at 855-CALWATER (225-9283). For additional information on the Oroville region improvement email Cal Water at: email@example.com.