Study Shows Mesa Water® Is One Of Orange County’s Most Efficient Water Agencies,
Measured by Total Annual Per Capita Expenditures
The Mesa Water District (Mesa Water®) Board of Directors commissioned Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. (RFC) to Study the “true cost of water” and to develop a standard for measuring the operational efficiency of Orange County water agencies. RFC analyzed 10 Orange County water agencies’ 2011 and 2012 revenues and expenditures, and compared each agency’s population served.
RFC reported that, due to water agencies’ differing revenue sources, water rate comparisons alone are an inferior indicator of operational efficiency or the “true cost of water.” For example, many Orange County water agencies -- but not Mesa Water® -- receive substantial revenue from property tax, assessment fees or other fees paid by their ratepayers, which subsidize water rates and offset costs.
Unlike most other Orange County water agencies, Mesa Water® receives no property tax income; 90 percent of Mesa Water’s revenue comes from rates paid to the District by its customers. RFC’s Study further found that a water agency’s total annual per capita expenditure is a better means of measuring operational efficiency. Mesa Water's total 2012 expenditure was $246 per capita in its service area, making it one of the most efficient water agencies in Orange County.
The Study concluded that, if water rates make up a higher percentage of an agency’s revenues, compared to supplemental sources, then: 1) the rates better represent the “true cost of water,” 2) the rates have a stronger impact on educating customers about water’s real value, and 3) may better promote customers’ water use efficiency.