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United Water Conservation District

Litigation Support (2013-2016)

Project Background

The United Water Conservation District works to maintain and provide adequate water supply to Municipal & Industrial (M&I) water users and Agricultural (Ag) water users. The District was sued by an M&I customer over the rate differential between M&I and Ag customers, which the District Act requires should be at least three times higher, but not more than five times higher, for M&I customers than Ag customers. HF&H was hired in 2013 to develop a methodology for determining the proportional cost of service between Ag and M&I users, in consideration that Ag water use preceded M&I use and Ag water use is interruptible. Our cost allocations factored in differences in net consumptive use, reliability needs, and return rates of irrigation and treated wastewater effluent. HF&H continues to assist the District each year to determine whether the 3-to-1 ratio continues to be substantiated, in consideration of changes in operational and capital costs over time.

Project Results

Our annual analyses have consistently substantiated the 3-to-1 ratio called for in the District’s Act by showing that the unit cost of serving M&I water users, for the four years studied, is over three times the unit cost of serving Ag water users.