Valley Center is marked by many rolling hills, steep canyons and beautiful valleys. While this varying topography lends itself well to community character and aesthetics, it also presents many challenges when it comes to delivering water. Fortunately, the San Diego County Water Authority had the good wisdom to place its aqueduct system either through or very near the Valley Center Municipal Water District service area. Unfortunately, these facilities deliver water at a gravity gradient or pressure which requires the District to lift water at least once to more than 80% of its customers. There are 10 pump zones in all, lifting 30,000 to 40,000 acre feet of water annually from the lowest elevation of 970 feet above sea level to over 2330 ft. above sea level.
Day in day out, the District accomplishes this task with almost 100 electric and natural gas powered pumps representing nearly 20,000 connected horsepower at 26 pumping stations located throughout its 100 square mile service area.
As result, the Valley Center Municipal Water District is one of San Diego Gas and Electric's largest customers. Historically, the District has spent in excess of $2.0 million annually on purchasing both electricity and natural gas. Prior to deregulation, the District enjoyed relatively low energy costs because of maintaining a very active pump efficiency testing and maintenance program, as well as operating around the peak electrical and natural gas demand periods. While both of these efforts continue, the cost impacts of electricity deregulation and the associated impact on natural gas prices have dwarfed any savings from these programs.
The pumping charge includes only those costs incurred in pumping the water up hill to you and varies based on how high it must be pumped.