The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) board requested that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) set formal terms and conditions for the Valley Center Municipal Water District’s proposed annexation of the Meadowood development area which would also annex that area into MWD and the SDCWA. The Meadowood development is planned along the Interstate 15 corridor in eastern Fallbrook.
The CWA resolution requesting that MWD set formal terms and conditions was approved June 27 without opposition. On July 9, MWD held a public hearing on standby charges for the annexation to allow for public comment, although no action regarding the annexation was taken. MWD is expected to consider the terms and conditions at a fall board meeting.
“The terms and conditions are based on the Water Authority’s annexation policies,” said CWA water resources specialist Lesley Dobalian. “At a staff level we evaluate the annexation based on these policies.”
In January 2012, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved Pardee Homes’ Meadowood project which will include 397 single-family homes, 447 multi-family housing units, 13 acres for an elementary school which will be built by the Bonsall Unified School District, four acres of park land, 128 acres of biological open space, 47 acres of agricultural open space, 5.9 miles of trails, and a wastewater treatment plant.
The Meadowood area is within the San Luis Rey Municipal Water District, which is not part of the San Diego County Water Authority, and the Board of Supervisors’ conditions included annexation of the Meadowood property into the SDCWA. The total property consists of 384 acres, although only the 267 acres proposed for development will be annexed into the water districts.
In February 2006, the CWA board adopted a set of 13 annexation policies covering relationship to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and MWD policies, protection of member agency supply reliability, conservation and local supply use requirements, annexation fees, priority for annexations to an existing CWA agency, concurrent annexations to other water agencies, necessary connection facilities, environmental compliance, consistency with land use approvals, annexation of commonly-owned lands, avoidance of surrounded annexed or unannexed territory, administrative costs, and annexation of tribal lands.
In April 2010, the CWA updated the policy to address sufficiency for supplies of other member agencies. The determination of a potential adverse impact includes whether the additional supply needs were already considered in the Urban Water Management Plan, whether actual demands are exceeding forecasted demand, whether a Drought Management Plan has been activated, and whether facility constraints exist.
That update also requires a member agency which would be annexing the new area to develop additional supply as an offset for the increased demand. The policy directs the CWA to evaluate the adequacy of water supplies and facilities to meet the needs of the proposed annexed territory based on adopted CWA facilities and supply plans including the most recent Water Facilities Master Plan and Urban Water Management Plan.
The only policy which was not satisfied was the payment of the annexation fee, which will be part of the final conditions. A $3,000 administrative fee was received to cover processing costs, and the CWA annexation fee rate of $2,929 per acre equates to approximately $782,000. Pardee Homes will be responsible for all annexation and processing fees including all Valley Center and San Luis Rey district fees, all CWA and MWD fees, and all LAFCO and State Board of Equalization charges.
The CWA’s June 27 action was the fourth of seven necessary governing board approvals and the second of three needed CWA board approvals. In April 2012, the Valley Center Municipal Water District board unanimously approved a resolution requesting concurrent annexation of that area into the CWA and MWD. CWA staff reviewed the documents for compliance with the CWA annexation policies, and in October 2012, the CWA board approved a resolution establishing preliminary informal terms and conditions while requesting that MWD grant conditional approval for annexation. MWD adopted a resolution granting conditional approval May 14 while also adopting the resolution of intent to impose standby charges.
The next step is for MWD to approve the annexation while fixing terms and conditions. The CWA’s final step will be to adopt a resolution to approve, conditionally approve, or deny the annexation and accept MWD’s terms and conditions for any approval. The final step will involve San Diego County’s LAFCO, which is responsible for jurisdictional boundary changes. LAFCO will file a notice of completion after the terms and conditions of the water agencies are satisfied. A formal LAFCO hearing for the annexation will be required, and LAFCO will also need to update the Valley Center district’s sphere of influence to include the area.
The Environmental Impact Report for Meadowood cited an approximate water demand from the CWA of 329 acre-feet per year and a projected maximum daily demand on CWA facilities of 1.1 cubic feet per second. During winter months, recycled water from the treatment plant would meet irrigation demands, although the summer irrigation demand would likely exceed the available recycled water and groundwater would also be used for irrigation. The total estimated annual demand is 609 acre-feet, which includes 189 acre-feet of recycled water and 91 acre-feet of groundwater in addition to the 329 acre-feet of imported water from the CWA.
The Valley Center district would also need to establish a new connection to the CWA aqueduct system to serve Meadowood. Other facilities would include a flow control facility, a water transmission pipeline from the CWA’s First Aqueduct or Second Aqueduct, and potable reservoir storage. The Valley Center terms and conditions include construction of such facilities at Pardee’s expense.