News Worth Noting: Adoption of ‘illegal’ Metropolitan rates forces fourth San Diego County Water Authority lawsuit; 12 early-career scientists are now Delta Science Fellows – the largest group ever; State Water Board to host free funding fair on infrastructure projects

Adoption of illegal Metropolitan rates forces fourth San Diego County Water Authority lawsuit

From the San Diego County Water Authority:
san diego county water authority logo“The San Diego County Water Authority today filed its fourth lawsuit against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, alleging that MWD’s newly adopted rates for 2017 and 2018 violate California law, the state Constitution and common law that all require rates to be set based upon cost of service. MWD adopted the rates at its Tuesday, April 12 meeting.

A Superior Court judge ruled in November 2015 that MWD’s rates for 2011-2014 were illegal. The judge directed MWD to pay the Water Authority more than $243 million in damages, costs, pre-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees. (Post-judgment interest is expected to grow the total to more than $275 million over two years.)

In his November ruling, the judge also ordered MWD to only set legal rates in future years.

Ignoring the judge’s ruling and order to set only lawful rates, MWD’s board of directors approved rates and charges for 2017 and 2018 on April 12 using the same illegal methodology that it used in 2011-2014.

MWD’s overcharges of the Water Authority for 2017 and 2018 are expected to be more than $134 million, and overcharges for the eight years contested by the Water Authority are approximately $524 million (not counting the interest, court costs and attorney’s fees from 2015-2018) . If allowed to stand, overcharges by MWD could exceed $2 billion over 20 years.

“We don’t relish the prospect of more litigation, but MWD’s repeated refusal to follow the law damages San Diego County ratepayers and cannot be allowed to stand,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “The Water Authority has prevailed on the merits of two similar cases and we intend to continue challenging MWD’s rates as long as MWD tries to operate outside the law.”

Continue reading here: Adoption of illegal Metropolitan rates forces fourth San Diego County Water Authority lawsuit

12 early-career scientists are now Delta Science Fellows – the largest group ever

From the Delta Science Program:

DSCLogoThe Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program has named 12 doctoral graduate students and postdoctoral researchers as recipients of the agency’s 2016 Delta Science Fellowship, making up the largest class of fellows ever awarded.

The Fellowship Program, administered by California Sea Grant, pairs junior scientists with academic and community mentors to work on collaborative data analysis and research projects as guided by the Delta Science Plan.

For more information and a list of the 12 recipients, please click here.

Additional financial commitment is provided by NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency.

State Water Board to Host Free Funding Fair on Infrastructure Projects in Sacramento

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsThe State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), along with six partner agencies, will host a free California Financing Coordinating Committee (CFCC) Funding Fair Wednesday, April 13, in Sacramento.

The CFCC Funding Fair is an excellent opportunity for public works and local government representatives to obtain information on funding currently available for infrastructure projects. Project categories include, but are not limited to: drinking water; wastewater; solid waste; water quality; water supply; water conservation; energy efficiency; flood management; community facilities; streets and highways and emergency response vehicles.

The fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sacramento County Sanitation offices at 10060 Goethe Road, Sacramento, 95827.

The CFCC was formed in 1998 and is made up of seven funding members: The State Water Board; California Department of Water Resources; California Department of Housing and Community Development; U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development; U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation; California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank; and a new member this year, CalRecycle.

CFCC members facilitate and expedite the completion of various types of infrastructure projects by helping customers combine the resources of different agencies. Since 2000, CFCC members have conducted free funding fairs statewide to educate the public about available financial and technical resources.

These fairs provide one-stop shopping for those looking for infrastructure funding in California. Each of the listed agencies will provide information on their available infrastructure grant, loan and bond financing programs, including funding available from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). Additionally, attendees have the opportunity to speak directly with program staff about specific projects and issues affecting their community.

The schedule for the funding fair is as follows:

Check-in: 8-8:30 a.m.
Agency presentations: 8:30 a.m.-noon.
Project discussion with agencies: noon-2 p.m.

The Sacramento funding fair is the first of six to be held throughout the state in 2016. The schedule and registration is available at http://cfcc.ca.gov/funding_fairs.htm. Additionally, the Sacramento fair will be webcast live.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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