Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors unanimously approved a $486.7 million Operating and Capital Improvement Budget for fiscal year 2023 at a June 28 board meeting.
The Board also chose a zero rate increase for domestic water assuming a reduction of 3.33% in Domestic Water consumption as the District moves to reduce water use under Level 2 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan. This option includes no increase to Domestic Water rates and adopts a budget reflecting negative net operating income of $3.9 million, with a net decrease in cash flow of $5.6 million. CVWD plans to use some of its reserves to cover the decreases and debt service.
The operating budget amounts to $293.8 million with an increase of $17.3 million or 6.3% as compared to prior fiscal year. The majority of the operating expense increases are inflation related. As of May 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Riverside County is +9.4%. A primary factor to the larger budget includes a $2.5 million or an 11.9% increase in utilities as energy costs continue to rise around the nation.
The capital improvement budget increased by $40.9 million or 29.3% to include construction of new water projects, system repairs and rehabilitations. The total capital improvement plan is $180.1 million. Some of the major projects include the following.
Domestic Water Fund – $12 million for Avenue 66 Transmission Main, $6 million for North Shore Water Main replacement, $5 million for Adams Street Water Main replacement Phase 1 and $2 million for the ion exchange treatment plant replacement project.
East Replenishment Fund – $5.5 million for the Oasis in-Lieu Recharge Phase II.
West Replenishment Fund – $5.4 million for the Palm Desert Ground Water Replenishment Facility.
Sanitation Fund – $12 million in waste water treatment projects, $7.6 million in collection system projects, and $15.6 million in nonpotable water connections.
CVWD provides a number of different water-related services to the community and by law, must keep the funding and spending related to those services separate. Under Proposition 218, CVWD can only charge a customer the costs of delivering each service.
Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 113,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.