CWA approves water service agreement with Sycuan

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The San Diego County Water Authority approved a water service agreement with the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

The SDCWA approved the agreement on a July 26 board vote with no opposition and Padre Dam Municipal Water District general manager Doug Wilson, who is Padre Dam’s representative on the CWA board, recusing himself. 

The San Diego County Water Authority approved a water service agreement with the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

The SDCWA approved the agreement on a July 26 board vote with no opposition and Padre Dam Municipal Water District general manager Doug Wilson, who is Padre Dam’s representative on the CWA board, recusing himself. 

The agreement does not annex Sycuan into Padre Dam or the CWA and the water supplied by the CWA and Padre Dam is planned to be a backup supply rather than a replacement of the reservation’s current groundwater source for potable supply.

The Sycuan reservation was established in 1875. The reservation boundaries have expanded since then and some of the Sycuan land is currently within the CWA and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California boundaries with some of that area being within the Padre Dam territory and the rest being within the Otay Water District service area. 

In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2470 which requires MWD, the CWA and Padre Dam to provide water service to the unannexed area of the reservation under the terms which would be in place for other customers if the land was annexed.

Because much of the original reservation land is mountainous, the water service agreement only covers 227 acres. 

CWA staff reviewed the CWA’s annexation policy to ensure that the service agreement was consistent with the annexation policy elements. 

The 2015 update of the CWA’s Urban Water Management Plan includes 392 acre-feet per year for Sycuan under the category of near-term annexations, and the estimated annual supply should Sycuan use the CWA water is only 100 acre-feet, so the service agreement is consistent with the CWA policy on protection of member agency supply. 

Sycuan will also be subject to any volume restrictions imposed by the CWA or Padre Dam.

Sycuan will pay the CWA’s standard annexation application fee of $10,340.  The tribe has already purchased a water meter from Padre Dam, which will be along Sycuan Road, and has paid the CWA’s capacity charge which recovers the proportionate cost of the existing and planned system. 

Because tribal lands do not pay property taxes, the service agreement includes an in-lieu payment for taxes and assessments collected from other customers.

The agreement includes a waiver of tribal sovereign immunity for enforcement of the contractual agreement.

The Padre Dam board approved the agreement July 18. 

The agreement is scheduled for approval by MWD’s board Aug. 21 and by the Sycuan Tribal Council on Sept. 5.

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