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Arant gives presentation before CWA board


April 02, 2014
Valley Center Municipal Water District general manager Gary Arant gave a presentation about his agency to the San Diego County Water Authority board at the SDCWA's March 27 meeting.

Arant, who is also Valley Center's representative on the CWA board, noted the loss of sales in recent years due to decreased agricultural production by VCMWD customers.

"Citrus and avocado farming is in rapid decline," Arant said. "Growers have turned off their meters."

The Valley Center Municipal Water District was formed in 1954. The San Diego County Water Authority aqueduct system preceded the formation of the district.

"Whoever laid out the First Aqueduct put it right smack dab down the middle of Valley Center," Arant said.

The VCMWD service area of 100 square miles makes it the CWA's third largest agency, behind the City of San Diego and the Otay Water District, in terms of land. The water district service area of Valley Center, Hidden Meadows, and northern unincorporated Escondido has a population of approximately 26,000 and has approximately 1,150 farms. The district has approximately 9,500 water connections and 2,750 sewer connections.

The district currently has a $46 million budget. The operating (non-capital) budget for water service is $41.8 million while the wastewater operating budget is $1.4 million. During Fiscal Year 2012-13 the district sold 27,370 acre-feet of water comprised of 8,585 acre-feet at the Municipal and Industrial rate and 19,786 acre-feet at the Special Agricultural Water Rate price. The total is down from the 49,336 acre-feet of sales the district had during Fiscal Year 2003-04. The district's staff has been reduced from 83 in 2007-08 to 63 currently.

The district's 42 reservoirs have approximately 250 million gallons of storage capacity, and the district also has 27 pump stations, 297 miles of pipe, 57 miles of wastewater lines, and two wastewater treatment stations. Arant noted the use of radio frequency and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) electronics in the district's operation.

"We're moving to more and more automation within our system," he said.

Arant told the CWA board that the Cool Valley covered reservoir, which at 57 million gallons is the district's largest, is nearing the end of its useful life. The district plans to replace that reservoir at an estimated cost of $4-5 million.

Other planned improvements include expanding the Woods Valley Ranch recycled water facility and replacing aging pipeline.

Arant noted that the district has planned residential developments which would create more customers while tilting the district's customer base more towards residential. "They're well off into the future," he said.

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