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Detachment on the Horizon

May contain: Scenic view of eastern Rainbow Water District from Interstate 15 in Fallbrook.

Post-Election Deatchment Update 

Last month the communities served by Fallbrook Public Utilities District (FPUD) and Rainbow Municipal Water District (Rainbow Water) overwhelmingly voted in favor of Measures A and B to approve detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and concurrent annexation into the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) based in Riverside County. The change in water wholesale suppliers, based on an independent analysis, is estimated to save Fallbrook and Rainbow water districts a combined $7.8 million per year.  

The SDCWA filed litigation to challenge LAFCO’s approval of detachment. Rainbow Water, FPUD and LAFCO are engaged in settlement negotiations with the SDCWA. Rainbow Water is hopeful for a swift resolution that allows detachment to move forward. Once a final resolution has been reached, FPUD anticipates transitioning to EMWD in early January 2024, with plans to immediately lower fixed fees on customer bills and reduce anticipated future rate increases. The transition for Rainbow to detach will take additional time but will have a similar impact. 

“Rainbow Water’s realization of savings from the detachment will not occur until mid-to-late 2024, as the transition to full wholesale supply by EMWD is more complex than FPUD’s,” said Jake Wiley, Rainbow Water General Manager. 

“The development of an operations plan with SDCWA including transfer of facilities as well as modifications to our distribution system will take more time to be ready for the full transfer. Rainbow Water will be taking action to provide relief to our customers in the form of lower fixed fees and potential reductions in future rate increases to account for the wholesale water savings as soon as the process is complete.” 

The water provided to the community will be the same water, off the same pipelines. The water will be reliable, clean, safe, and continue to meet or exceed all state and federal water quality standards.

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