Quite simply, it’s time. Currently, 90% of PV Peninsula residents are served by one drinking water pipeline that is more than 60 years old, and a single pumping mechanism. Drinking water for the other 10% of the Peninsula is dependent on a separate aging water pipeline that is more than 80 years old and located dangerously close to homes. This project will help guard against the significant risks of prolonged drinking water service outages caused by an aging infrastructure and natural disasters — and also ensure the Peninsula is better prepared for the future.
PV communities will see two major benefits from the Palos Verdes Peninsula Water Reliability Project. The first is service reliability. The current drinking water pipeline is difficult for repair workers to access, but the new water pipeline location will be much more accessible, which will increase overall service reliability in the event of an earthquake or major power outage. The second is safety. This new drinking water pipeline will be located farther away from homes and other structures, ultimately minimizing the risk of property damage.
Construction began in June 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Similar to the way most homeowners purchase their homes through a mortgage, Cal Water funds major projects up front by securing financing from investors. Once the project is complete, Cal Water recovers the cost of the project by applying to the California Public Utilities Commission for a rate adjustment that will be recouped over the lifespan of the project – typically several decades.
As the first step in the rate adjustment process, the California Public Utilities Commission approved an initial project budget of about $60 million. Similar to paying off a mortgage, payments will end once the full cost of the project is recouped. The costs are recovered in small increments over the lifespan of the project – typically several decades – to avoid drastic increases to monthly water bills. It is important to note that Cal Water can only recoup the project costs once the California Public Utilities Commission determines that the costs incurred were prudent and justified. Based on the existing project cost estimate, the rate increase is projected to end in approximately 40 years. There will not be an impact to rates until 2020 or later, and the exact amount and length of the repayment will depend on the final costs.
Based on an average monthly bill of $125, we expect our typical residential customer to see their monthly bills increase by about $1 per day. Ultimately, the impact of the project on water rates will depend on several factors, including the final project cost, how much water a customer uses in a given month, and the size of a customer’s water meter. Commercial customers, who typically use higher volumes of water, will experience the same proportional impact as residential customers, working out to an estimated increase of approximately $5 per day.
This project has been in the planning phase for about 15 years, and a multitude of options were evaluated in collaboration with the City of Rolling Hills Estates. With the completion of the most recent analysis, our goal was to develop a balance among all of the analyzed routes. The current route strikes the right balance and has the lowest overall impact to the community.
The new pump station will be located off of the west side of Crenshaw Boulevard, between the curb and hillside, just north of Silver Spur Road.
Construction in the Palominos Ranchos Trail between the Rolling Hills Little League ballfield and Rolling Hills Road is expected to take approximately five months. Construction in the Botanic Garden Trail from Rolling Hills Road to Lariat Lane is expected to take approximately two months. You can view the bridle closure map here.
Cal Water is working closely with individual horse owners and local equestrian groups to ensure that all horses along the water pipeline route are safe during construction. We are partnering with local equestrians to develop efficient boarding plans for all affected horse owners and will also pay the full cost to temporarily relocate horses for comfort and safety, if needed. Read our fact sheet here for more on how Cal Water is working with the equestrian community and visit our equestrian page for more information on bridle trail closures.
Approximately seven miles of new drinking water pipeline will be installed.
The new drinking water pipeline will serve more than 90,000 people on the Palos Verdes Peninsula — and will help ensure the Peninsula is better prepared for the future.
The majority of the new drinking water pipeline will be routed through the city of Rolling Hills Estates and will require temporarily closing the Rolling Hills Little League field from August 2018 to January 2019. As part of these improvements, Cal Water will repave the ballfield access road and parking lot in 2019 to enhance access to the field for families and players.
Cal Water is building the new pump station to help prevent service interruptions in the case of a disruptive event. The new pump station will be on a separate electrical grid and will have a generator, making it less likely to experience a power outage at the same time as the existing pump station. Additionally, there will be a new, separate drinking water pipeline to feed the system. The combination of the additional drinking water pipeline and pump station will help guard against potential risks and ensure the Peninsula is better prepared for the future.
Yes, Cal Water has completed a geotechnical investigation and site-specific analysis to ensure the drinking water pipeline will be built to withstand seismic activity.