PALMDALE — Those with wells within the Antelope Valley who pump more groundwater than is allowed under a 2015 court settlement will be required to pay between $415 per acre-foot and $948 per acre-foot to replace the additional water, based on assessments approved Wednesday by the Antelope Valley Watermaster Board.
The Watermaster is the body tasked with overseeing the settlement which set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley in what is known as the Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin.
The court settlement requires those who pump more than their allotment to purchase water from outside the basin to replace the overage and recharge the basin. The primary source of this is the State Water Project, which carries water from Northern California via the California Aqueduct.
The local agencies that provide this state water, the Antelope Valley State Water Contractors Association, hired a consultant to calculate a rate structure to cover the costs of this replacement water for those both inside the association’s boundaries and those that lie outside and do not already help pay for the fixed costs of the State Water Project in some form.
The basic replacement water cost is based on the cost to deliver raw, untreated water to agricultural users, plus 10% to cover the expected loss of water when recharging into the aquifer.
In the study, the water replacement fee for 2019 to users outside the association boundaries was calculated at $948 per acre-foot, and $451 per acre-foot for those within an agency. These fees may be changed based on changing costs.
An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or approximately the amount of water occupants of a typical Antelope Valley single-family home used in one year, before the most recent drought reduced usage.
For prior years, the assessment rates are $415 per acre-foot for those inside the boundaries for 2016-2018.
For those outside the boundaries, the rate is $888 per acre-foot for 2016, $896 per acre-foot for 2017, and $914 per acre-foot for 2018.
Also at the Aug. 28 meeting, the Watermaster Board agreed to a plan to host on its website a bulletin board for parties to advertise if they have water rights they wish to transfer or are looking for such rights.
The bulletin board will be strictly a means of informing of water rights available or desired; the transfers still have to go through the formal approval process.