Claim form for refund of San Juan Capistrano Water Rates ruled illegal in OC Superior Court - click to download
Follow instructions on the form and submit it with your water bill. You may protest the entire bill, or anything above the "base rate" listed on your bill.
The Ground Water Recovery Plant
The cost of water in San Juan is far higher than that of other cities. We believe this is due to the cost of building, operating and maintaining the "Ground Water Recovery Plant" (GWRP). Although our tax dollars paid to build it and continue to pay to operate and maintain it, we don't own it but rather, merely lease it from the San Juan Basin Authority. We have never received a satisfactory answer as to why we paid to build something for someone else; especially now that it is not producing the amount of water necessary to pay for it itself.
It is our position that we can purchase water from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) for nearly half of what it costs us to operate the GWRP. Because the GWRP cannot produce to its design capacity, we already purchase some of our water from the MWD to supplement the GWRP's lack of production.
Click on the link below to read more about the history of the GWRP, in this series of four articles (listed in chronological order):
Court Rules "Tiered" Water Billing is Illegal
Recently, an appellate court ruled that "tiered" water billing, which is the method of biling used here in San Juan, is a violation of Proposition 218, which holds that a government entity such as a City, cannot charge more for an essential service than what it costs to deliver it.
We have brought this to the City's attention but so far, their response is that their goal is to encourage water "conservation" through charging higher, punitive rates.
The City Council and their staff have steadfastly refused to acknowledge that the water plant is a bad "investment" for San Juan. Instead, their answer is to continue to raise rates. Water is now nearly unaffordable for some residents, and impacts most others negatively as well.
Click on the links below to read more about the Court decision re: tiered water billing and Proposition 218.