Liquid News

Orange County Grand Jury Report Mischaracterizes IRWD Financial Planning

The comment by the Orange County Grand Jury in the April 27, 2012, report on Special Districts characterizing the Irvine Ranch Water District  “Cash and Investments”  as unrestricted is misleading. The Orange County Grand Jury states that that IRWD’s “Cash and Investments” of $225 million can be considered unrestricted reserves and then provides no basis for this assertion.  This contradicts IRWD’s audited financial statements which reflect no unrestricted water or sewer assets.

Correctly stated, IRWD "Cash and Investments" of approximately $250 million consists primarily of funds that are restricted to pay for infrastructure replacement and refurbishment needs of the District over time as well as restricted proceeds from bond issue to finance capital infrastructure (See note 2 in the Statement of Net Assets in the IRWD 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.)

IRWD provides water, sewer, recycled water and urban runoff services to more than 300,000 residents and numerous major employment centers, almost one fifth of the County. The District’s infrastructure that includes more than 1,100 miles of drinking water pipelines, more than 400 miles of recycled water pipelines, more than 900 miles of sewer pipes, 53 reservoirs, and two large wastewater treatment plants. Every year IRWD evaluates its future replacement and refurbishment funding needs utilizing sophisticated planning models that currently indicate that IRWD will require an estimated $2 billion in infrastructure and refurbishment funding in the future.  

Not unlike saving many years in advance to fund a child's college education, IRWD believes that setting aside funds now to fund future infrastructure expenditures is prudent financial management so our customer's rates are not severely impacted by large capital expenditures in the future. This approach to financing future infrastructure needs is described on page 8 of the IRWD 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 

IRWD residential and business customers benefit from modern water and sewer infrastructure and among the lowest rates in Orange County. This did not happen by accident.  It is the result of careful and prudent fiscal planning over many years. Our goal is to always provide customers with low, stable rates, a diverse and highly reliable water supply, and excellent service.  For more information please visit www.irwd.com.  

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