More than 100,000 Fresno homes will be part of a “groundbreaking” and “novel” three-month research study to see whether easing up on water restrictions and reducing fines for excessive water use will actually spur greater conservation by residents. The University of Chicago’s Energy and Environment Lab is working with the city’s Public Utilities Department on the summer pilot project.
Tracking how much Americans spend on infrastructure starts with defining the sector. In this case, we mean the essential services related to public works: water and sewer, electricity and gas, transportation, telephone, and broadband.
For sale: the tax debt on a one-story Craftsman house on 4th Street, in Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Opening bid: $399.42, the amount of the debt — called a lien — plus fees. The 4th Street house (assessed value: $100,300) is one of 24,569 properties whose past-due city fees and property tax debt will be offered to investors in Baltimore’s annual tax lien sale, scheduled for May 14 this year.
Ross Valley’s controversial flood fee was hiked 3 percent Tuesday, helping pay for a public relations campaign smoothing the waters for projects that will turn key park areas into flood retention basins.
The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday will hear a plan to increase sharply water rates and create a drought-recovery fee for funding infrastructure projects, stabilizing revenue and boosting reserves.
The state Water Resources Control Board released a survey this week that revealed that Californians actually have increased their water use amid the worst drought in decades — despite a spirited public-relations campaign about saving water.
A Superior Court judge has ordered the Castaic Lake Water Agency, Santa Clarita Valley’s water retailer, to rescind an illegal “special tax” imposed on Santa Clarita Valley water retailers, who passed that rate on to customers.
From the San Francisco Chronicle, in C.W. Nevius’ column:
Gleneagles, the quirky, challenging, everyman’s golf course in one of San Francisco’s roughest neighborhoods, is having trouble making ends meet. … However, the latest blow, a major increase in water rates, has course operator Tom Hsieh wondering if the effort is worth it.
In April, the city [Detroit] set a target of cutting service to 3,000 customers a week who were more than $150 behind on their bills. In May, the water department sent out 46,000 warnings and cut off service to 4,531.
The East Bay’s largest water supplier failed to give the public an adequate explanation of a 9.75 percent water increase, the first of two big increases in consecutive years, Alameda County’s civil grand jury has concluded.