Looking Back: Accomplishments in 2014-2015
California's historic drought dominated district planning and operations over the past two years. We met water use reduction goals, maintained financial stability, and made our community more resilient to future droughts by continuing to invest in water recycling.
|Postcards launching AquaHawk encouraged customers to monitor their water use online.
Empowered customers to track water use as the drought emergency began. The AquaHawk Customer Portal gives customers access to their hourly water use data.
Opened the first residential recycled water fill station where residents pick up free recycled water to irrigate their home landscaping instead of using scarce drinking water. More than 3,500 active participants took home 30 million gallons of recycled water.
Increased Water Reliability
The East County Animal Shelter is one of 19 irrigation accounts converted to recycled water in 2015 to permanently reduce potable water demand.
Converted large irrigation customers to recycled water, saving 177 million gallons of potable water annually, enough to serve 1,385 homes. Decades of investment in recycled water infrastructure, including extending pipelines into established Dublin neighborhoods, made it practical to shift 44 large irrigation accounts from potable water to recycled water. These conversions permanently reduced demand for drinking water.
Strengthened Our Financial Position
Quickly implemented Water Shortage Rates early in the drought emergency as a result of the board’s forward-looking rate planning. These rates encouraged customers to conserve water, ensured adequate cash flow in a time of reduced water consumption, and funded water conservation efforts.
Reduced bond debt. We used cash reserves to retire $9.4 million of debt.
Tailored staffing to changing needs without increasing costs. After three senior managers retired, we studied our organizational structure and eliminated one senior management position.
Looking Forward: Strategic Goals for 2016-2020
The district is financially stable and we expect this stability to continue through the timeframe of current budgets. The DSRSD Strategic Plan outlines key goals for the next five years, as well as work plans to accomplish them.
Continue Our Record of Sound Financial Management
Maintain long-term financial stability. We can reduce future borrowing costs and maintain long-term financial stability by setting appropriate rate and fee structures that support our AA credit rating.
Satisfy pension and retiree benefit obligations within five years. Debt management is critical to cash flow management. We will focus on reducing unfunded pension liability and maintaining the 100 percent funded status of our liability for retiree medical benefits, protecting future ratepayers from inheriting unfunded liabilities
Zone 7 Water Agency, the district’s wholesale supplier, treats surface water imported from outside the valley, along with runoff collected in Del Valle Reservoir, at its Del Valle Water Treatment Plant, one of three such facilities that prepare raw water for drinking in the Tri-Valley.
Maintain financial reserves. Capacity Reserve Fees from developers pay down infrastructure debt and fund infrastructure expansion. We must maintain sufficient reserves and react quickly to when the pace of development changes to ensure adequate funds are available to meet district obligations.
Provide Reliable Water Service in Normal and Emergency Conditions
Manage potable water demand while meeting state mandates for lower water usage. Ratepayers have responded well to the challenges presented by the drought. An extended drought, sure to bring lower consumption targets, will magnify the challenges for both the district and our customers.
Diversify our water supply. Drought and long-term environmental issues in the delta have reduced the reliability of water from the State Water Project, the source of 80 percent of our water supply. We are working with other Tri-Valley water agencies to diversify our water supply by expanding the current recycled water program, exploring alternative regional water supply options, and developing indirect potable reuse.
Expand the availability of recycled water regionally. We are expanding the water recycling plant to better serve DSRSD, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and City of Pleasanton customers. We will develop studies and agreements to interconnect recycled water systems throughout the Tri-Valley and store recycled water produced during the rainy winter months when less is needed for irrigation.
|The district disposes of biosolids, the solids left at the end of wastewater treatment, by injecting the material 18 inches below the surface of a dedicated land disposal site.|
Protect Public Health and the Environment
Diversify biosolids management. While our dedicated land disposal site allows us to dispose of biosolids at the lowest possible cost, the system is vulnerable to changing public opinion and government regulations. We are developing alternatives for processing biosolids and recovering the resources they contain.
Manage assets to efficiently maintain and plan for the replacement of critical infrastructure. As District infrastructure ages, we are using modern asset management tools to ensure we have the resources available to improve or replace assets in a timely manner and to avoid disruptions in service.
Retain Our Effective Workforce
Maintain fair and equitable labor agreements with competitive salary and benefit packages. Our staff is a significant resource for the district, operating our systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our board of directors is developing a long-term compensation and benefits policy to guide negotiations for updating all labor agreements during calendar year 2017.
Right: A DSRSD Senior Mechanic climbs into a sanitary sewer manhole to make repairs to the pipeline below, assisted by a Water/Wastewater Systems Operator. The "TV truck" in the background contains robotic video equipment used to document the condition of underground pipes and find potential trouble spots. Many district employees have special training to work safely around raw sewage and in confined spaces.