Encinitas City Council member Mark Muir, who has represented the San Dieguito Water District on the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors since 2013, has been elected as the new board chair of the county organization.
Muir follows two years of Mark Weston (Poway) leading the board of the Water Authority, which sustains a $222 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility, according to a news release. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.
“Thanks to extraordinary conservation efforts, we stored 100,000 acre-feet of water in the recently expanded San Vicente Reservoir, well ahead of schedule, adding to reserves that will protect us from future dry years,” Muir said in praising Weston’s leadership. “Last December, we started commercial operations at the largest seawater desalination plant in the country, adding up to 56,000 acre-feet of locally controlled, drought-resilient supplies to the region each year.
Muir also said that the Water Authority will continue its efforts to ensure the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California charges legal rates. The Water Authority has filed four lawsuits against illegal rates at MWD covering 2011-2018. A state Superior Court judge in 2015 ordered MWD to pay the Water Authority more than $235 million in damages, costs and pre-judgment interest for illegal overcharges in 2011-2014, plus attorneys’ fees determined in 2016 to be $8.9 million. Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow also ordered MWD to only set legal rates in future years.