OCWD Establishes 2019 RA Price and Quantity of Basin Pumping

Sign saying OCWD Establishes Price & Quantity of GWFollowing a wet winter and relatively high groundwater storage levels, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) Board of Directors has established the Replenishment Assessment (RA), Basin Production Percentage (BPP) and Basin Equity Assessments (BEA).

Recommendations were made to the board based upon the information included in the “2017-18 Engineer's Report on Groundwater Conditions,” “Water Supply and Basin Utilization in the Orange County Water District,” (dated March 2019), and other more recent data relating to groundwater and imported water supply conditions.

The Basin Pumping Percentage remains 77%. That’s the percentage amount the District’s retail agencies, known as producers, can pump from the groundwater basin, based upon their total water needs. Groundwater costs about half as much as imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River and so the ability to pump more than ¾ of their water supply locally is a great cost savings for them. Groundwater currently costs $462 an acre-foot to pump versus imported water at $1,130.  The cost of groundwater will increase to $487 an acre-foot beginning July 1, 2019.

The BPP has historically averaged about 70 percent of a producer’s water portfolio, even during droughts.

Producers will pay the Replenishment Assessment of $487 per acre-foot on the amount they actually extract up to the 77% BPP. An additional Basin Equity Assessment charge is imposed when parties pump above the BPP. This additional charge incentivizes the retail agencies to only pump groundwater up to the BPP. This year’s BEA averages $542 per acre-foot.

OCWD has a long and successful history of sustainably managing the Orange County Groundwater Basin. The District takes on the water challenges of today and prepares to meet the region’s water demands for generations to come.