The District’s system to recover its costs of operation includes two charges: “Base Service Charges” (BSC) which are “land-based” charges ; and, “Water Tolls” which are “usage-based” charges assessed on the volume of water delivered to water users by the District.
The District’s primary system to convey water to customers is comprised of earthen canals that deliver water by gravity flow. Earthen canals are cost-effective to construct, but are much more susceptible to erosion, damage from burrowing rodents, and weed growth than concrete lined canals (or pipelines). Since these activities can disrupt water service to customers, it is imperative that the District dedicate significant resources for maintenance and monitoring of its canal system. Similarly, District groundwater recharge areas that are integral to the operation of the District’s “conjunctive use” project (and are constructed with earthen berms) require regular maintenance to ensure they are available when needed.
The “base” maintenance activities described above as well as District legal costs for a basic level of “water rights protection” are for the most part stable year-to-year regardless of hydrologic conditions (if the District is providing surface water or groundwater) or how much water the District sells. The District’s costs for base maintenance activities and administration are considered “fixed costs” and the District recovers those fixed cost through the Base Service Charge Assessments.