East Whitewater River Subbasin
The Coachella Valley Water District's (CVWD) Replenishment Assessment Charge, commonly called the RAC, for the East Whitewater River Subbasin Area of Benefit is paid by public and private well owners or other entities who pump more than 25 acre-feet of water from the aquifer in any year and partially funds local groundwater replenishment programs.
What is the purpose of the RAC?
The RAC covers an important portion of the costs of replenishing the aquifer, including the cost of importing water for that purpose. CVWD's groundwater replenishment program is a key element of the Coachella Valley Water Management Plan (PDF) developed to reduce the overdraft of the East Whitewater River Subbasin and provide a dependable long-term supply of high quality water for water users within this Area of Benefit.
Who pays the RAC?
RAC payers are those entities that use a well or multiple wells that collectively pump more than 25 acre-feet of water from the aquifer in any year. This is the equivalent of 8,146,275 gallons of water in any year.
Examples of RAC payers include public water system purveyors including the Coachella Valley Water District, and entities that own, lease or operate farms, nurseries, golf courses or large irrigated areas (about 5 acres) where their wells produce more than 25 acre-feet of groundwater in any year.
If I don't use this amount of water, how does this apply to me?
If you don't have a private well, or you pump 25-acre feet or less of water from the aquifer in a year, you don't pay the RAC. You would be required to pay the RAC in the future if you begin to use a well or other facility to produce that much water.
Why is it important to replenish the aquifer?
For many years, the amount of water used from the aquifer has exceeded the natural replenishment of the aquifer. This imbalance caused an "overdraft" of the Coachella Valley groundwater basin. Overdrafting a groundwater basin causes water levels to drop and can have serious consequences, including increased pumping costs for all water users, land subsidence and water quality issues. The comprehensive Coachella Valley Water Management Plan (PDF) developed in 2002 and updated in 2012 guides CVWD in its efforts to eliminate overdraft. Replenishing the aquifer with imported water is one of the means for doing this.
What is the RAC?
The East Whitewater River Subbasin Area of Benefit RAC, effective July 1, 2016, is $66 for each acre-foot of water pumped in that subbasin by large water uses (those pumping more than 25-acre-feet of groundwater in any year). The RAC reflects an 11.9 percent increase from the RAC in the previous fiscal year.
What was the reason for the latest increase?
The cost to CVWD of replenishing the aquifer with supplemental water supplies has increased. In the East Whitewater River Subbasin Area of Benefit, the increase is largely attributable to operational and maintenance costs related to the Thomas E. Levy Groundwater Replenishment Facility.
If you have questions about the groundwater replenishment program or believe you may pump greater than 25 acre-feet in a year, please contact CVWD staff.
Zoe Rodriguez del Rey, Water Resources Associate
760-398-2651, extension 2389