In 1986, the Board of Supervisors adopted a Water Policy and later a Water Implementation Plan along with an expansion of the District Advisory Water Commission (AWC) and the establishment of the Water Resources Coordinator position. These steps toward greater water management were in direct response to growing concerns regarding the County’s ability to sustain its water supply as it faced increased demands in response to increased urbanization and development in addition to continued agricultural activities. At the time, studies indicated that a lack of sufficient surface water supplies led to increased groundwater pumping, which caused a strain on subterranean aquifers. The associated depletion of these groundwater supplies created a heightened concern of increased salinity of groundwater due to salt-water intrusion.
Water Investigation Zone No. 2 (Zone 2) was established as a countywide zone in 1989 with an accompanying assessment. On June 20, 2000, the Board of Supervisors approved the Annual Engineer's Report setting forth the assessment apportionment to all benefiting properties within Zone 2 for fifteen years, commencing in Fiscal Year 2000-2001, and ending after Fiscal Year 2014-2015. On May 1, 2015, San Joaquin County property owners approved a property-related fee in support of the water management efforts funded by Zone 2.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is the fee used?
A: This fee is used to support efforts to carry out the "Strategic Plan to Meet Water Needs" adopted by the Board of Supervisors, which incudes the following goals and objectives. Preserve water rights; Manage groundwater in Eastern San Joaquin County; Protect water quality; Maintain and enhance Southwest County water supplies; Develop funding programs; and Support watershed education programs.
Q: How are fees determined in Zone 2?
A: Zone 2 fees were prepared using principles established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The AWWA Priciples of Water Rates, Fees and Charges - AWWA Manual M1 - establishes commonly accepted professional standards for cost of service studies and rate structure design. The fee methodology is centered on water demand by land use, parcel size and water demand factor based on land use and its percentage of being irrigated and/or developed land. The Zone 2 fees and methodology were aproved by affected property owners in 2015. Each year during the budget hearing proceedings held in June, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors adopts the budget and the fee schedule for Zone 2. The Zone 2 fees cannot be increased without property owner approval. Attached is the 2021-22 Zone 2 Fee Schedule.
Q: I own several properties in San Joaquin County. Why do they have different Zone 2 Fees?
A: The ZOne 2 Fee rates are based on the size of the property and land use type (whether the property is developed, irrigated, residential, commercial or industrial).