New water agency boasts savings of nearly $6 million with first budget

SCV Water logo
SCV Water Agency logo. Courtesy

In adopting their first budget as a newly consolidated all-encompassing water agency, board members announced projected savings of nearly $6 million dollars for the Santa Clarita Valley.

On Tuesday, board members of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency adopted its first consolidated budget for the fiscal year 2018-19.

“Our goal is to be transparent with our customers. Our strategic planning process establishes

the goals and the budget provides the resources for accomplishing the goals,” said Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water.

In the months leading up the agency becoming law, members of the now-defunct water wholesaler — the Castaic Lake Water Agency – and former water retailer, the Newhall County Water District — told SCV ratepayers there would be cost efficiency and money saved by eliminating redundancy.

Tuesday’s board decision represents the first consolidated budget since the new water agency was created.

“The encouraging part is that we are on track to meet the projected cost savings within the

first three years,” said Bill Cooper, board president. “That’s seven years ahead of schedule, and most of the savings are ongoing.”

SCV Water was formed to improve regional water management, enhance governance and reduce costs for local ratepayers, Lindsey Gibson, SCV Water spokeswoman stated in a news release issued Wednesday. The creation of SCV Water has streamlined resources and increased efficiencies, she said. It merged Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company into one new retail provider.

The projected cost savings for ratepayers was originally estimated at $14 million in the first 10 years, Gibson noted.

Some of the first-year savings of $5.57 million come from eliminating redundancies among the four entities, such as costs for legislative advocates, auditing and tax consulting, insurance and labor.

The adopted budget reflects a $1.2 million decrease in Water Resource expenses from earlier versions, as the allocation of state water was increased from 20 percent to 35 percent, eliminating the need to call on SCV Water’s banking programs.

The budget assumes water demand at 80 percent of 2013, reflecting ongoing conservation habits.

Budget highlights include:

  • A balanced budget
  • Total budget = $224 million
  • Regional revenues of $139.2 million and expenditures of $123.6 million
  • Retail revenues of $84.8 million and expenditures of $84.7 million
  • Includes $52.7 million in regional and retail capital improvements
  • 216 staff positions (Seven positions eliminated through attrition or vacancy)

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