Moulton Niguel Water District
Making the Case to the Governing Body
MNWD began investigating BBRs in 2009, two years prior to the actual implementation. This was also the year the District assigned watering days, engaged in water patrols, and issued violation letters and fines. MNWD’s General Manager and several directors formed a task force that met on a monthly basis. The task force conducted a comprehensive review of data gathered from other agencies, consultants, and publications on BBR structures. Benefits of BBRs that were most compelling included the following:
- Encouragement of efficient water use
- Provides choices for how customers use water as opposed to mandatory watering restrictions
- Successful implementation at other water agencies
- Compliance with state legislation for water use reduction
- Recovery of fixed costs
In addition to the many benefits of a BRR structure listed above, in 2014, during the severe statewide drought, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) identified it as a superior approach to water conservation over limitations on outdoor watering of no more than two days per week and outlined an alternative approach to compliance with statewide regulations for agencies with BBRs.
After determining to move forward with a change to BBRs, MNWD held three informational workshops for the Board of Directors over a span of several months in order to enlist their support. Detailed PowerPoint presentations explained the benefits of the rate structure and the anticipated results, including revenue generation and the need to establish a separate conservation fund for the money collected from usage that would exceed water budgets. Shadow bills for each of the Board members were generated. The Board members were able to view the new budget billing components that would be presented on the bills, which included the household population, square feet of irrigated area, and the ET. These bills highlighted the fact that there would be very little change, if any, to the bill amounts for customers who used water efficiently and remained within their allocation. Interactive discussions provided the opportunity to exchange information and address concerns.
MNWD’s communication with its Board of Directors allowed it to gain the support and trust necessary for a successful BBR implementation. MNWD’s implementation of BBRs is discussed further in a case study included as an appendix for 2015 Urban Water Management Plan Guidelines. MNWD has also maintained communication with local leaders, as demonstrated by a presentation given to mayors in south Orange County.