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EVMWD Director provides update on drought, water rate increases

EVMWD Director Darcy Burke represents Division 1. She served as board treasurer in 2019 and 2020, vice president in 2021, and president in 2022. Photo provided by EVMWD.

The following updates were provided by Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District Division 1 Director Darcy Burke.  

Drought
With record snowpack and precipitation, California has more water than it can store. Since the early 1970s, California has not invested in water infrastructure while our population has more than doubled. We asked for rain and now that our reservoirs and groundwater basins are full, there is little space across the state to move and store it.

In addition to the rain that fell throughout the state, record snowpack is now melting, causing once-productive farmland and small communities to flood. Even in the Central Valley, the Great Tulare Lake has returned. Despite all of this, even now, the governor has not lifted all his Drought Executive Orders.

At EVMWD, we are storing as much as we can in our local groundwater basins. Canyon Lake is full and until just recently was still spilling over the dam. In other words, we are saving for sunny days. We also understand that although this year saw record precipitation, next year may be extremely dry.

Locally, we are taking action. Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District has partnered with our neighboring water agencies, including Eastern Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, and Rancho California Water District, to explore local water projects that bring the region new, reliable water supplies. These efforts include seeking grant funds for feasibility studies and partnering with other federal and regional partners.

Rate Increases
On July 1, EVMWD water rates will increase. Over the past two years, EVMWD has experienced a 26 percent increase in energy costs, a 300 percent increase in chemical costs, and record-high inflation on the equipment and resources we use. We have been able to absorb some of these impacts through budget cuts and other cost-reduction efforts. The rate overall increase will be 9.5 percent and that includes the already approved 4-1/2 percent increase and a 5 percent pass-through.

I understand how this impacts families. As a single mother, I know how extremely difficult it can be to make ends meet; it may be for you as well. There is assistance available. Unlike most water and wastewater agencies, EVMWD has funded the RARE program through non-rate income sources, including cell tower leases and rebates.

Individuals or families that qualify for Southern California Edison’s or The Gas Company’s CARE program automatically qualify for the RARE program. Recently, we made changes to the program to make it easier for families to get the help they need. The RARE Program provides a financial discount to your water bill. For more information, as well as other financial assistance programs, visit evmwd.com/customers/customer-service/rare or call 951-674-3146.

If you have questions on rebates, your bill, or other water-related issues, please contact me. I host a coffee on the second Wednesday of every month with Canyon Lake Mayor Jeremy Smith. Our next coffee will be next Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30 a.m. at the Canyon Lake Country Club on Railroad Canyon Road. You can also call me at 951-634-9019 or email me at [email protected].

Chart provided by Darcy Burke.
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