We are all concerned about rate increases. We have just had over a decade of steady increases, and now a 7-8% increase per year for raw water customers over the next 5 years is being proposed. Even that won’t balance the budget.
As we all know, controlling rates is a matter of scaling back expenses and raising revenue. When the two management systems, the financial process (ERP), and the asset management (CMMS) are operational, the district will be in a far better position to control expenses. (See Projects page for details). The expected completion date is late 2021 or early 2022.
In addition, I have been advocating for increased investment in existing facilities, in particular, canal modernization to improve efficiency in raw water delivery, and for more rigorous cost/benefit analysis on all new projects.
On the revenue side, I am advocating to update all rate schedules and review existing municipal contracts to ensure everyone is paying their fair share. In addition, I am facilitating new connections for District taxpayers seeking NID service.
I am working to increase the transparency and accountability of NID. I successfully promoted holding board workshops as a part of the regular board meeting, not just so the board members hear the same depth of information about an item before voting on it, but so that staff would not have to present the same information up to three times before securing a decision on an item. An additional bonus for everyone is that the number of meetings has been reduced from six to two per month, making it easier for the public to track projects of concern to them. District board meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 9 am.
I’ve upgraded this website and will be activating my Facebook page. As the COVID restrictions are lessened, I’ll be reaching out to organizations in order to create an opportunity to interact with their membership. If you are a member of an organization, and would like me to come to speak, please let me know by filling out the contact form and putting that message in the Note section.
I’m also developing a newsletter which will come out quarterly on a regular basis and, occasionally, to send out announcements of important upcoming events. You can be put on that list by filling out the contact form as well.
The future of water in the Sierra is uncertain. More intense and warmer storms will expose the Bear and Yuba watersheds to increased erosion, threatening our water deliver infrastructure and filling reservoirs with sediment. I support the Districts’ work to protect our watersheds by restoring mountain meadows, increasing floodplain space along rivers and streams, evaluating opportunities for groundwater recharge, removing sediment from our reservoirs, and thinning the watershed forests for increased water supply and fire protection. (Give a couple recent examples.)
Examples of the work currently underway are as follows:
$1.2 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board for the English Meadow Floodplain Enhancement and Restoration Project. This project, scheduled for implementation in summer 2021, will install woody debris in the Middle Yuba River to activate the floodplain and improve hydrology.
$981,000 grant from Sierra Nevada Conservancy for $145,000 grant from Cal Fire Forest Improvement Program to thin 300 acres at Scotts Flat and 103 acres at Rollins reservoir.
Staff is reviewing a district-wide reservoir study to understand the diminished capacity of our reservoirs due to sedimentation. This will assist in prioritizing sediment removal projects and preparing cost estimates.
Before signing on to any additional storage facility, I will require that there is an updated needs assessment that includes climate change estimates, a careful cost/benefit analysis, and extensive consideration of the use of all other options such as those mentioned above.