Mesa Water District is one of Orange County’s Most Efficient Water Agencies, as Measured by the True Cost of Providing Water Service to Customers
The Mesa Water District Board of Directors tasked Raftelis Financial Consultants, one of the largest and most respected utility financial, rate, management, and operational consulting practices in the nation, with developing a standard for measuring operational efficiency among Orange County water utilities. Through its analysis of 10 Orange County agencies since 2011, Raftelis has studied revenues, expenses, and populations served to establish the true, or per capita, cost of providing water service to customers.
Raftelis’ Study concluded that, due to water agencies’ differing revenue sources, water rate comparisons alone are an inferior indicator of operational efficiency and determining the true cost of water. In fact, many agencies, with the exception of Mesa Water, are supported by other revenue streams, including substantial revenue from property tax, assessment fees, or other fees paid by ratepayers who are offsetting and subsidizing their agencies’ water rates. The study further found that when revenues are comprised of the cost of providing service to customers, instead of supplemental sources, the rates better reflect the true cost and value of water to customers and influence water use efficiency practices.
Mesa Water receives no property tax revenue and 97 percent of its income comes from water rates to customers (as of August 2013). The Study found that using a per capita metric more accurately measures operational efficiency. The most recent data (2013) show that it costs $272 to bring water service to customers in Mesa Water’s service area, making it the lowest, or most efficient, in the County.