BEAUMONT – The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency recently adopted a connection fee on new construction in the Pass area. The primary purpose of the fee is to ensure that the region has sufficient revenue to procure additional water supplies needed to meet projected regional water demands.
The fee, adopted on a 5-1 vote after a series of three public workshops over the past 13 months, will include $171 per new house for construction of infrastructure required to meet future water demands, and $6,231 for each new acre-foot of water that Agency will need to acquire. Most new homes constructed in the future will have annual water demands of less than one-half acre-foot per year, so the total fee for a typical new home is expected to be in the neighborhood of $3,000.
This cost would be paid by the developer and built into the cost of the new home. Other public agencies, including cities, counties, school districts, and water districts, have similar fees to finance the cost of new infrastructure required for the new homes.
“We’ve been talking about this for over ten years, and if we had implemented it five years ago when it came up last time, we probably would have been able to procure an additional water supply by now,” said John Jeter, Board President, who supports the fee. “This region needs new water supplies, and this is the only way to make sure that we have enough money to procure them.”
The Agency plans to use a combination of revenue from the connection fee, water sales, and general tax revenues to finance a major water purchase in the next few years.
According to state law, the Agency must partner with either a land use planning agency or local water district to enable it to collect the fee as new homes are constructed. The Agency is seeking to sign cooperative agreements with such agencies in the next few months so that the financing plan can be in place prior to development of its 2015 Urban Water Management Plan, which is required for most water districts every five years.
“We are not a land use planning agency. We are a water district. We don’t create growth, but when it is created by city and county governments, we need to ensure that there is sufficient water for it,” said Board Treasurer Mary Ann Melleby, who also supports the fee. “There is not enough local water, even with recycled water, to meet the projected water demands of our service area.”
San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency is one of 29 State Water Project contractors whose mission is to import supplemental water, to protect and enhance local water supplies for use by present and future water users and to sell imported water to local water districts within its service area extending from Calimesa to Cabazon in western Riverside County, California.
For more information, please contact General Manager Jeff Davis at 951/845-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.