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Water Committee

Committee Chair: Ron Green

Committee Member: Larry Versaw
The committee stays abreast of water  issues in Cypress Ridge; reviews and comments on correspondence between the CPUC and Rural Water Company which are primarily their requests for rate increases or reimbursements for expenses; interfaces with an attorney to represent CROA as necessary.
If you have any question, contact Ron at water@cypressridgeoa.org
Golden State Water Company is implementing Stage 2 of the Staged Mandatory Water Conservation and Rationing filing for the Cypress Ridge service area effective September 19, 2021.
Watering Days 
Outdoor irrigation is restricted to two days per week, between 7pm-8am on the specified watering day(s).
(Addresses ending in an even number may responsibly water on Sunday, Wednesday)
(Addresses Ending in an odd number may responsibly water on Tuesday, Saturday)
Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in the installation of a flow restrictor device along with associated fees for installation and removal.
No Customer shall use GSWC's water for non-essential or unauthorized uses as defined below:
a.  The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.
b.  The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use.
c.  The use of potable water for washing buildings, structures, sidewalks, walkways, patios, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced, non-porous areas.
d.  The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.
e.  The use of potable water for watering outside plants, lawn, landscape, and turf area during certain hours prohibited by applicable laws or rules, during and up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall (0.1" or more.
f.  GSWC will promptly notify customers when aware of leaks within the customer's control; the failure to repair any leaks, breaks, or other malfunction resulting in water waste in a customer's domestic or outdoor water system within forty-eight (48) hours of notification by GSWD, unless other, specific arrangements are made with and agreed to by GSWC.
g.  The serving of water, other than upon request, in eating and drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased.
h.  Hotels; motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option.
i.  The use of potable water for irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians. The use of potable water for irrigation outside of newly constructed homes and buildings that is not delivered by drip or micro spray systems.
j.  Commercial, industrial and institutional properties, such as campuses, golf courses, and cemeteries, immediately implement water efficiency measures to reduce potable water use in an amount consistent with the mandated reduction.
k.  Further Reduction in or the complete prohibition of any other use of water declared non-essential, unauthorized, prohibited, or unlawful by an authorized government or regulatory agency or official.
l.  Use of potable water for watering streets with trucks, or other vehicles, except for initial wash-down for construction purposes (if street sweeping is not feasible), or to protect the health and safety of the public.
m.  The outdoor irrigation restriction does not apply to trees or edible vegetation watered solely by drip or micro spray systems.
This up-date does not include all the advice letters, protests, etc. that preceded the CPUC actions discussed below. It only includes the latest actions of the last few months which are really the CPUC’s response to the earlier actions. The CPUC did not act on any of the advice letters, etc. for well over a year.

The CPUC issued draft Resolution W-4950 (Attachment #1) on May 6, 2013 in response to Rural Water Company’s (Rural) request to be reimbursed for legal fees incurred for the Santa Maria Groundwater Adjudication (Stipulation) and for the costs of the NMMA Technical Group to produce the 2008 annual report. The CPUC is recommending that Rural be reimbursed $49,260 for the NMMA fees and $128,612 for legal fees. One half of the legal fees, $64,306, would be collected with a surcharge and the other half would be placed in its plant account as rate base. The $109,464 surcharge (plus interest) would be $3.26 a month for thirty-six months beginning July 1, 2013 ($4,101 has already been collected). The draft resolution was scheduled to be heard by the Commission several times but has been withdrawn from the agenda.

The larger issue is whether the CPUC should authorize Rural to participate in the Stipulation. If authorized, Rural’s monthly rates will at least double, if not triple.  Subsequent to the draft Resolution being issued, the CPUC issued a Resolution authorizing Golden State Water Company to participate in the Stipulation (Attachment #2). Rural subsequently filed comments on draft Resolution W-4950 to incorporate the Golden State authorizations, even though the draft Resolution only requests reimbursement of legal fees and NMMA expenses.

 CROA filed a protest (Attachment #3). Again, Rural did not book the expenses in a properly established memorandum account and therefore violates the rule against retroactive ratemaking. Most of the legal fees were incurred before the December 31, 2005 date the CPUC authorized Golden State to be reimbursed.  In fact, some were from as far back as 1999. The draft Resolution did not include back-up or justify the reasonableness of the expenses. In addition, Rural did not provide adequate notice to each individual customer as required. Rural should have requested CPUC authorization to participate in the Stipulation many years ago as required by the Stipulation. CROA requested that Rural should seek authority to proceed with any major expenditure related to the Stipulation by filing an application for a formal proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

On October 10, 2013 Golden State Water Company and Rural Water Company filed an application with the CPUC for Golden State to acquire Rural Water for $1.7 million (Attachment #4). The Joint Applicants requested that the Commission address the Application on an expedited, ex parte basis. In other words, no hearings if no material issues of fact are contested. Golden State responded to our protest (Attachment #5) that neither CROA nor the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) raised any material issues (Attachment #6). The CPUC has yet to rule on the requests, but it looks like the issue will be heard by an ALJ.
One of the conditions of the acquisition is that the CPUC must authorize Rural Water’s participation in the Santa Maria Groundwater Adjudication. CROA has protested the acquisition based on the cost of the Stipulation to Rural Water customers.  CROA has requested the matter be heard before an ALJ and the involvement of the ORA.  In the purchase agreement, $302,054 is listed as a liability to NCSD (This is probably Rural’s share of the fees for NMMA’s subsequent annual reports). Adding that to the request for $177,872 in legal fees discussed above, the impact on Rural Water customers would total $479,926, or $515 per customer. That doesn’t include the cost of NCSD’s pipeline from Santa Maria or the expensive water that Rural Water customers must pay for but can’t receive.