Courtesy Notice of Recent Court Decision Invaliding Water Code Section 75594, Requiring Groundwater Charge Rate Calculation Per Proposition 26 (Cal. Const., Art. XIIIC, § 1)
Since 1979, the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District (District) has calculated groundwater charge rates as prescribed by the California Water Code section 75594. Section 75594 requires that the groundwater charge rate for non-agricultural (Other) water be not less than three (3) times nor more than five (5) times the rate for Agricultural water. On May 26th of this year, the Court of Appeal issued a published decision (City of Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 110) ruling Water Code section 75594 unconstitutional, thus requiring that the groundwater charge rates of Water Conservation Districts like ours be determined consistent with the requirements prescribed in Proposition 26. Proposition 26 was added to the California Constitution (Cal. Const., Art. XIIIC, § 1) by voter approved initiative measure. Proposition 26 requires that the amount of the charge is “no more than necessary to cover the reasonable costs of the governmental activity, and that the manner in which those costs are allocated to a payor bear a fair or reasonable relationship to the payor’s burdens on, or benefits received from, the governmental activity.”
The District has undertaken a Rate Study to determine a groundwater charge rate that is compliant with Proposition 26 – as required by the Court Decision. Current and proposed charges are shown below.
Agriculture Special Other
Current Rates $7.40 $14.80 $26.00
Proposed Rates $14.14 $14.14 $14.14
The District’s Board of Directors will have a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at Vandenberg Village Community Services District, 3745 Constellation Road, Lompoc, California, with remote participation provided via Zoom, to consider the groundwater charge rates for the next water year (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023). Remote participation is encouraged but not required. Prior to the Special Meeting, instructions for remote participation and the meeting Agenda will posted as required by law and available at SYRWCD.com
The rates approved and levied by the District’s Board of Directors will take effect for groundwater pumped beginning on July 1, 2022. Payment is not due until January 31, 2023.
Posted and e-mailed June 17, 2022Rate Study Report, Fiscal Year 2022-23
The District's Board of Directors scheduled another Special Meeting on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. online only via Zoom to consider the groundwater charge rates for the next water year (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023).