Topic: Water Rates


Water Rates

Typically, water utilities’ budgets are funded by revenue collected through water and sewer rates. Revenue generated by rates covers the costs of operations, as well as ongoing upgrades and repairs to pipelines, treatment plants, sewers and other water infrastructure.

State legislation also has affected the water rate-setting process by requiring new processes for altering water rates, as well as by requiring water conservation, which in turn decreases the demand for water.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Commentary: Metropolitan Water District soaks taxpayers with higher property taxes

In what may be an illegal tax increase, the board of the Metropolitan Water District just approved a two-year budget that doubles the property tax it collects in its six-county service area. MWD is a water wholesaler with 26 cities and water retailers as its customers. Through those entities, MWD supplies water to about 19 million people in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. The new budget raises the wholesale rates by 8.5% in 2025 and then by 8.5% again in 2026. The rates for treated water will go up 11% and then 10%. Metropolitan said it has to raise rates and taxes to cover its operating costs because they’ve been selling less water, first because of drought, and then because of rain.

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Aquafornia news Patch - Santa Clara

Silicon Valley water supplier plans rate hikes

Santa Clara County residents could see higher water bills in the upcoming year, as one water agency looks for ways to cover costs. Valley Water, the region’s main water supplier, is proposing raising groundwater production charges on cities and private water retailers. The increase will be passed on to household ratepayers through local water companies such as San Jose Water. This could add $8.78 a month to customers’ bills in the upcoming fiscal year. Valley Water is spending big to fix the Anderson and Pacheco dams and other projects that hold and protect the county’s water supply from climate change. The board of directors is looking for more money amid a multimillion-dollar structural deficit, putting residents on the hook for the district’s losses.

Aquafornia news Patch - Sonoma

Sonoma Water to raise wholesale rates

The Sonoma County Water Agency —Sonoma Water— Board of Directors voted Tuesday to increase wholesale water rates to address the pressing aging infrastructure needs. The adjusted wholesale water rates are forecasted to have a modest impact on household budgets of between $2-$3 per month, based on location and water usage. The cities of Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sonoma; the town of Windsor; and the Marin Municipal, North Marin and Valley of the Moon water districts, all purchase their water from Sonoma Water.

Aquafornia news CBS 8 - San Diego

More San Diego customers dealing with water bill problems

CBS 8 is Working for You to get to the bottom of water billing problems in the City of San Diego. It’s been four months since Mission Hills homeowner Ken Perilli received a notice in the mail that his water bills were being withheld, pending an investigation by the city of San Diego into “abnormal water use.” “The first reaction is to panic that you have a leak under a slab, and that you’re going to be facing an expensive plumbing repair bill,” said Perilli. He called a plumber and checked for water leaks, but nothing seemed abnormal. “I investigated the abnormal reading. And you can see that there is dirt in front of the meter. So, the abnormal reading is that there was no reading taken, I believe,” said Perilli. On the social media site Next Door, Perilli said he found dozens of similar complaints by neighbors.

Aquafornia news NBC - Los Angeles

Beverly Glen woman hit with $9.5k water bill after landslide

Nearly six weeks after a major winter storm led to flooding and landslide throughout Southern California, some homeowners in Beverly Glen are still trying to return home. On Caribou Lane, a landslide knocked a home off its foundation, and the debris slid into the neighbors’ homes. That debris and mud left Samila Bahsoon’s home with a lot of damage. … She has potentially more than $600,000 in damage, and two insurance companies already denied her claims. … She also said when the neighbor’s home was knocked off the foundation, the debris broke her water main. And it led to a massive water bill. “LADWP sent me a $9,500 water bill, which is 6,500% more than average for the last 35 years that this house has been used,” she said.

Pandemic Lockdown Exposes the Vulnerability Some Californians Face Keeping Up With Water Bills
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Growing mountain of water bills spotlights affordability and hurdles to implementing a statewide assistance program

Single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bills in San Diego County's Helix Water District can get a one-time credit on their bill through a rate assistance program funded with money from surplus land sales.As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Jobs were lost and household finances were upended. Even with federal stimulus aid and unemployment checks, bills fell by the wayside.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

With Sustainability Plans Filed, Groundwater Agencies Now Must Figure Out How To Pay For Them
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's Prop. 218 taxpayer law and local politics could complicate efforts to finance groundwater improvement projects

A groundwater monitoring well in Colusa County, north of Sacramento. The bill is coming due, literally, to protect and restore groundwater in California.

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Filling a glass with clean water from the kitchen tap.Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Western Water California Water Map Layperson's Guide to the State Water Project Gary Pitzer

As He Steps Aside, Tim Quinn Talks About ‘Adversarialists,’ Collaboration and Hope For Solving the State’s Tough Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Tim Quinn, retiring executive director of Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn  with a report produced by Association of California Water Agencies on  sustainable groundwater management.  (Source:  Association of California Water Agencies)In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

Drought’s Impact on Fiscal Planning Highlights PPIC Report
Suppliers need “proactive” drought pricing to prevent cash crunch

During drought, people conserve water. That’s a good thing for public water agencies and the state as a whole but the reduction in use ultimately means less money flowing into the budgets of those very agencies that need funds to treat water to drinkable standards, maintain a distribution system, and build a more drought-proof supply.

“There are two things that can’t happen to a water utility – you can’t run out of money and you can’t run out of water,” said Tom Esqueda, public utilities director for the city of Fresno. He was a panelist at a June 16 discussion in Sacramento about drought resiliency sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Western Water Magazine

Ante Up: Funding California’s Water
May/June 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at how water use is paid for and the push to make public financing more flexible.

Western Water Magazine

Are We Keeping Up With Water Infrastructure Needs?
January/February 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines water infrastructure – its costs and the quest to augment traditional brick-and-mortar facilities with sleeker, “green” features.

Western Water Magazine

Dollars and Sense: How We Pay for Water
September/October 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines the financing of water infrastructure, both at the local level and from the statewide perspective, and some of the factors that influence how people receive their water, the price they pay for it and how much they might have to pay in the future.

Western Water Magazine

Changing the Status Quo: The 2009 Water Package
January/February 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater monitoring and the proposed water bond.

Western Water Magazine

A ‘New Direction’ for Water Decisions? The California Water Plan
May/June 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the changed nature of the California Water Plan, some aspects of the 2009 update (including the recommendation for a water finance plan) and the reaction by certain stakeholders.

Western Water Magazine

Small Water Systems, Big Challenges
May/June 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the challenges facing small water systems, including drought preparedness, limited operating expenses and the hurdles of complying with costlier regulations. Much of the article is based on presentations at the November 2007 Small Systems Conference sponsored by the Water Education Foundation and the California Department of Water Resources.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Dollars and Sense: How We Pay For Water
September/October 2009

It’s no secret that providing water in a state with the size and climate of California costs money. The gamut of water-related infrastructure – from reservoirs like Lake Oroville to the pumps and pipes that deliver water to homes, businesses and farms – incurs initial and ongoing expenses. Throw in a new spate of possible mega-projects, such as those designed to rescue the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the dollar amount grows exponen­tially to billion-dollar amounts that rival the entire gross national product of a small country.