Topic: Water Rates

Overview

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 Bloomberg Law

Democrats, nonprofits urge Congress to help keep water flowing

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were urged Tuesday to include at least $12.5 billion in stimulus funds to help people struggling to pay their water and sewer bills. Congress is preparing another stimulus package that will include billions of dollars to improve the nation’s aging water and sewer infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As cities suspend shutoffs, water access and hygiene at front of coronavirus response

Governments at all levels are beginning to review water access policies and inequalities that inhibit public and personal efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. Those policies include restoring water service to homes where water had been disconnected, suspending new water shutoffs, and installing public handwashing stations to serve residents who are experiencing homelessness.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Millions in US at risk of ‘water shutoffs’ amid layoffs triggered by pandemic

Around two-fifths of the country rely on water utilities which have not suspended the policy of shutoffs for non-payment, despite public health warnings that good hygiene – specifically frequent hand washing – is crucial to preventing spread of the highly contagious virus, according to data analysed by Food and Water Watch and the Guardian…. So far, the moratoriums on shutoffs include 12 statewide orders, which apply to private and public water providers, issued by the governors of California, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Water shutoffs in sharp focus amid coronavirus outbreak

The advice is simple and universal: Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But for millions of people across the country, that’s not simple at all: They lack running water in their houses due to service shutoffs prompted by overdue bills.

Aquafornia news Huffington Post

What it’s like to not have running water during a pandemic

Two weeks ago, as the coronavirus was spreading across the U.S., Shanna Yazzie loaded the bed of her gray Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with as many empty, five-gallon containers as she had in her house and drove 25 miles on unpaved desert roads looking for a place to fill them with water. This is a routine for Yazzie, 38, one of the 2 million Americans who live without access to running water.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s official: Two North County districts want out of County Water Authority

The water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas of North County have officially filed applications to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority, an unprecedented move with potential financial implications for almost all water customers in the county.

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Coronavirus state of emergency halts water shutoffs in Salinas

Both water companies that serve Salinas will halt all water shutoffs during the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Salinas has a large population of hospitality workers that commute to the Monterey Peninsula daily; the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus as health officials urge “social distancing” and the closure of large gatherings. As such, many residents may find themselves short on funds as the pandemic wears on.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Water bills might increase in Southern Nevada if $3B plan approved

A $3 billion package of water projects recommended for approval by the Southern Nevada Water Authority this month could raise average residential bills by $10, while providing a boost to the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: The fate of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is now “the law of the land (state)” and as such there will be restricted agricultural groundwater pumping throughout the San Joaquin Valley…

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

San Diego Water Authority votes to largely end 10-year legal battle with MWD

The San Diego County Water Authority‘s board voted to largely end a decade-long legal battle with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California after securing over $350 million in concessions.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to leave more than $1 billion in polluted rivers, flood issues to successor

For years, city auditors warned elected leaders that San Diego’s stormwater needs were being dramatically underfunded, leaving the city vulnerable to lawsuits and hefty fines from state regulators. Still, the mayor’s office has yet to take on the political challenge of securing enough new funding to fix the situation, something that would likely require a voter-approved tax hike.

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Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Tehachapi City Council OK’s sewer, water fees for new development

Officials in the city of Tehachapi approved new water and sewer fees — in case new housing developments start moving in — to support the construction of infrastructure that can’t quite support projected growth in the next 10 years.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am rate increase proposal set for local public hearings

Cal Am’s request calls for raising water rates to increase revenue by about $8.4 million in the Monterey district to cover new capital investment, increased labor costs, and higher administrative and operations expenses, driving the “average” local customer’s bill from about $89.40 to about $105.78 over the three-year period from 2021-2023.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada City water customers get more time to pay bills

The changes, mandated by Senate Bill 998, mean customers will have at least 60 days to settle their bill before becoming delinquent. The changes also require water utilities to provide written notice at least seven days before service discontinuation, which must contain information on how to avoid an interruption of service as well as procedures for contesting or appealing a bill.

Aquafornia news The Highlander

Affordability symposium highlights importance of water and housing affordability in Southern California

Dr. Kurt Schwabe … stated that from 2007 to 2015 water prices increased an average of 45% while income has been stagnant or decreased by an average of 6%. This affects a household’s discretionary income, the disposable income left over after subtracting the cost of water and other essential needs. As water prices rise and discretionary income falls below zero, households are forced to make tradeoffs for some of their essential needs.

Aquafornia news Soledad Bee

Monterey County considers tax hike for aging dams, reservoirs

Landowners, politicians, legal experts and concerned citizens packed the Agricultural Center Conference Room to weigh the benefits and pitch solutions to problems within the two main proposals, either a bond measure or a pay-as-you-go tax increase. After hours of presentations and discussion, the Jan. 31 meeting came to no definitive conclusion on which option would be best.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Redding City Council approves rate increase after heated meeting

The approval came after a 3-2 vote. Mayor Adam McElvain proposed to table to the plan and vote again next year. … The public works staff says they need the added funding to maintain infrastructure and keep up with inflationary costs. One council member said Redding is still using some infrastructure installed in the early 1900’s.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

City Council approves water rate hike to fund water self-sufficiency projects

The Santa Monica City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan Tuesday that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023.

Aquafornia news Poway News Chieftain

Poway water customers may be getting credits

Poway water customers may be in line for small credits on an upcoming bill because the recent six-day boil-water advisory late last year.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Occidental, home of sky-high sewage rates, eyes outlet in Graton, but some residents object

Two Italian-style restaurants have drawn generations of diners to Occidental while serving pasta, pizza and soup — in recent years under the burden of the steepest sewage treatment rates in Sonoma County and among the highest in California. … There could be some help coming from Graton, about 6 miles to the east with an underutilized wastewater plant… But there’s a catch

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Agua Caliente tribe sues Coachella Valley water districts, again

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has filed a second lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency over groundwater. … In the new complaint filed on Jan. 24, the tribe asserts that it and its members should not have to pay a “replenishment assessment charge” for groundwater production on land owned by the tribe and individual tribal members.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New water recycling projects to battle seawater invasion in Monterey Bay area

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop replacing 3,506 residential water meters

New state-of-the-art water meters that will provide accurate, real-time readings of how much water Lathrop’s residential customers use are on the way. The Lathrop City Council approved a consent calendar item that will allow city staff to purchase the remaining 3,506 water meters in the city that have not yet been updated – approving the expenditure of $436,760 and a contingency of $43,676 to modernize the aging system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco deal offers water and sewer insurance: What homeowners need to know

San Francisco homeowner Carmen Hermida was suspicious when she got a postcard in the mail this month bearing the logo of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from a private company selling “protection programs” for water and sewer lines on their property.

Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation approves rate increases, protest level not reached

The Santa Fe Irrigation District approved three percent water rate increases for the next three years at a Jan. 16 hearing. … The rate increases aim to help meet the district’s objectives to ensure equity across customer classes, encourage conservation and maintain financial stability as it faces challenges such as the rising costs of imported water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

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Aquafornia news San Marino Tribune

City council grills Cal-Am Water over proposed rate increase

It was an evening of tense questioning and a lack of local details on Wednesday, January 8 as the San Marino City Council grilled representatives from the California American Water (CAW) Company on why the city is facing a proposed increase of water rates of 16.64 percent starting January 1, 2021.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol water, sewer rates to rise

In order to provide ongoing funding for Sebastopol’s water and sewer system, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved an increase to water and sewer rates at its Jan. 7 meeting. … The average ratepayer’s bill is expected to increase by $3 or $4 per month, according to Mayor Patrick Slayter.

Aquafornia news Windsor Times

Larkfield sewer project groundbreaking

On Jan. 11 homeowners, administrators and local officials broke ground on the sewer project for the Larkfield neighborhoods, which had been leveled by the 2017 fires. The project has been a source of conversation and negotiation, as the homes had previously been on individual septic systems.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Policy changes assist water patrons

Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill 998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.

Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: District to update water charge zones

Because zone changes have the potential to impact many well users, Valley Water conducted extensive stakeholder engagement on the preliminary study recommendations. … The board of directors agreed and directed our team to prepare the survey description to modify the two existing zones, and create two new zones in South County. The board will consider these changes in a public hearing later this year.

Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Hi-Desert Water District looks at raising rates for Yucca Valley customers

Without raising rates to make 3 percent more revenue each year starting in 2020, Hi-Desert Water District would not have enough revenue to recover expenses in the next five years. … For residential customers who are in tier one (those who use the least amount of water), rates would go from $3.65 per hundred cubic feet in 2020, gradually up to $4.11 in fiscal year 2024.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Imperial Beach residents weigh in on potential water rate hikes

Water rates are set to rise next year for at least some parts of San Diego County, including Imperial Beach, Coronado and some sections of San Diego served by the California American Water Company. The rates are renegotiated every three years, but it’s about an 18-month process to determine just how much those rates will climb.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the city of Long Beach’s practice of transferring surplus revenue from water and sewer utilities to its general fund is unconstitutional. … The practice has been carried out for decades, but in recent years, it has faced challenges in two separate lawsuits from residents.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Residents sue to stop Riverside from spending water profits on other city services

Filed last week in Riverside County Superior Court, the class-action lawsuit alleges that Riverside is violating state Prop. 218 by overcharging ratepayers to generate excess water profits for purposes unrelated to providing water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district board to take next step on public water buyout effort

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for a potential public acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24 million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

More public water buyout spending to be considered

On Monday, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board is set to consider approving $1.24 million on consultants to prepare for a potential vote by the summer on a resolution of necessity to acquire Cal Am’s local system.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Why SoCal water agencies must end litigation era

Next year would mark a decade of lawsuits by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s uniform rates set by our Board of Directors after many public meetings and hearings. For nearly my entire tenure on the board, SDCWA has been pursuing litigation against Metropolitan. One of my goals as chairwoman is to put this era behind us.

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Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

County Water Authority’s new ag water rate can be traced back to policy of the 1990s

Back in the 1990’s, when water rates started to hurt growers, the Valley Center Municipal Water District helped pioneered a program that gave ag users a special rate in return for their water being subject to interruption. … Recently the San Diego County Water Authority introduced a permanent policy that can trace its lineage directly to Valley Center’s efforts to preserve its growers. 

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Proposed pump fee raise delayed

The recommended fee hike would have elevated the rate from a monthly $30 per-acre foot pumped to $75/acre-foot, according to IWVGA acting general manager Don Zdeba. It would turn the tables on the IWVGA ending 2020 fiscal year with $465,000 in the red to ending in the positive by $209,000.

Aquafornia news Simi Valley Acorn

Raising sewer rates by 40%

The city mailed notices to Simi Valley property owners (not renters) proposing raising sewer rates about 40% over the next five years to pay for much-needed upgrades to the city’s sewer system. The sewer treatment plant and many of the underground pipes are nearly 50 years old. The plant must be upgraded and many sections of pipe replaced.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Dirty water too pricey to fix for many Central Valley cities. Is this idea the answer?

Cities like Huron, with a population of 6,926 and a $22,802 median household income, are often too small to expand water access projects that could lower utility rates. While cities like Delano are too big to qualify for rural development projects from the federal government. But a new proposal could soon alleviate those pains.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Californians are turning to vending machines for safer water. Are they being swindled?

The kiosks take city tap water – which must be clean enough to meet state and federal quality standards – run it through a filtration system that removes chemicals such as chlorine to improve taste, then dispense it to customers at an 8,000% to 10,000% mark-up. Vended water is cheaper than individually sealed, store-bought bottles, but many times more expensive than tap water.

Aquafornia news Del Mar Times

Santa Fe Irrigation District proposes raising rates by 9 percent over three years

The Santa Fe Irrigation District is moving forward with a proposed three-year rate plan that would raise total revenue for the district by 3 percent per year over the next three years, beginning early next year, through rate increases and changes in the district’s rate structure.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Opinion: Delay of water feasibility study disappointing

You might ask why anyone would want to study whether water could be piped from Paradise to Chico. It’s actually pretty simple.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater plan’s potential adverse impact on ag

When the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority technical and policy advisory committees reviewed a draft sustainability plan, it left many with questions and criticisms. The plan may also leave uncertainty for the valley’s agricultural industry. They face the brunt of the plan’s water sustainability requirements when the plan is implemented…

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Newport Beach set to consider water rate hike

Water rates have not increased in Newport Beach since 2014. If approved, starting Jan. 1, water rates will increase 7.4% each year until 2024. After 2024, the proposal calls for water rates to rise by 2.5% each year until 2029. The average household … can expect a $3.38 per month increase in its water bill for the first year, according to a staff report.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Opinion: Now that a public buyout of Cal Am has been declared feasible, is it doable?

According to a 111-page analysis by a group of financial consultants and bankers released on Nov. 6, not only is a buyout of the behemoth Cal Am feasible, it would also cause the cost of water to drop significantly if the water utility was replaced by a public agency.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Consultant: Cal Am purchase can be paid for with rate savings

It will cost Monterey Peninsula ratepayers about $574.5 million, all in, to acquire California American Water’s local water system, but that cost can be covered in rate savings under public ownership with some leftover to lower local customers’ water bills.

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Aquafornia news KAZU

Public takeover of Cal Am appears feasible

A newly released study finds a public takeover of California American Water’s local system is feasible. Voters ordered this study with the approval of a local ballot measure, Measure J, one year ago. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District released the study Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Cal Am Water customers in Ventura County are getting bill credits

About 27,000 California American Water customers in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Camarillo are getting credits on their October and November bills averaging $41.27 a month, the company says. The credits are being issued because the rate hikes the California Public Utilities Commission approved for the company earlier this year were less than what the company anticipated…

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

El Dorado Irrigation District fights water taxes

The Oct. 28 meeting of the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors included an update on the effect of power outages on the district and a legislative update with a focus on protecting the area’s water rights.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Diego creates state’s first water, sewer ‘capacity bank’ to boost biotech, breweries

The city will buy millions of gallons of “stranded,” excess water and sewer capacity from manufacturing businesses that those businesses had purchased when they hooked up to the city’s water and sewer system over the years. … Then the city will place that excess capacity in a “bank” and sell it at discounted rates to biotech firms, breweries and other water-dependent businesses looking to expand or open new local facilities.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

New laws may result in water rate increases

In order to keep up with the state’s underground water recharge laws, sooner or later, local water rates will likely need to increase. That was the message local water management officials gave in a joint presentation at the Oct. 21 Selma City Council.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Bureau of Reclamation takes up review of Lake Powell Pipeline

The elimination of the major hydropower components of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline means a new federal agency will review the project and determine if it is environmentally sound to move forward.

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Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 settles on minor boost to ag water price

Zone 7 Water Agency directors have voted 5-2 to raise the price of agricultural water by 3%, a relatively minor hike that one vineyard owner said is affordable. … The 3% bump was in stark contrast to the 30% cost for 2020 recommended by staff, which referred to a study by consultant Raftelis about actual costs incurred by Zone 7.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Public will have voice in new utility, town lawyer says

Exorbitant water bills, earthquake-prone reservoir tanks, a lack of public input in setting rates and a corporation from Canada not operating transparently. These were just some of the reasons that justify Apple Valley taking over its largest supplier of water, Liberty Utilities, a lawyer for the town argued on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Central Coast plan to shift water to wealthier areas meets protest

Activists and local government officials across Monterey County have banded together to fight a proposed desalination plant that could double the cost of water for some residents and endanger an aquifer that serves low-income communities.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Montecito thirsting for new water source

After years of negotiations, the Montecito Water District is closing in on a deal to buy 1,430 acre-feet of water from the City of Santa Barbara, every year for the next 50 years. … The city would produce the extra supply at its $72 million desalination plant, at a yearly cost to Montecito of $4.3 million.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

Big-ticket infrastructure costs pump up rates

Sewer rates are scheduled to go up in January for Camarillo Sanitary District customers, who already pay some of the highest wastewater rates in the county.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Alameda storm drain fee could more than double

Alameda property owners are being asked whether they are willing to pay more to maintain and upgrade the city’s aging stormwater system. … The reason? The city’s stormwater fund is running a $1 million annual deficit and the system needs about $30 million in upgrades, including at its pipe stations, some of which date to the 1940s…

Aquafornia news Axios

The water crisis U.S. cities don’t see coming

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. … Still, with only a handful of exceptions, “water systems aren’t designed to focus on health, they’re focused on cost-containment,” says Seth Siegel, whose book “Troubled Water,” released this month, examines the precarious state of water infrastructure in the U.S.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Mesa Water tweaks pipe replacement policy, cutting estimated cost

The Mesa Water District board took a step Thursday to reduce the estimated cost of replacing its pipeline system. With newly adopted methodology, district staff estimates the 100-year replacement cost at $131 million — down from $200 million under the former standards.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Audits of embattled Rialto water district uncover financial, personnel issues

State and local audits of the embattled West Valley Water District in Rialto have uncovered a slew of deficiencies, including questionable hiring and promotion practices, no-bid contracts, abuse of credit cards and work performed without contracts.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Court ruling pauses Cal Am desal plant project

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has called a halt to work on the California American Water desalination plant project, at least temporarily, while a California Coastal Commission appeal challenging the project’s source wells is pending.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

As cost of delivering water climbs, Tustin looks at raising household rates

For the first time in five years, Tustin is looking at passing along those increases to consumers through a rise in rates. Early next year, the City Council will vote on a multi-year, incremental rate hike. If council members approve the staff proposal, rates almost immediately will increase 6% per year for five years.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Riverside judge dismisses challenge to WMWD water rate structure; a victory for customers who use water efficiently

Western Municipal Water District, which provides water to Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District and Rancho California Water District in southwest Riverside County, won a court challenge from two excessive water users to share their higher costs with those who efficiently conserve their water usage and save on their water bills.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria residents could see water and sewer increases for the next 4 years

The proposed water rates include a fixed meter charge per month and a variable consumption charge per unit of water. The city says most single family residences will see about a $15 increase in January of 2020. … The last rate increase was approved by the city council five years ago, but he says a lot has changed since then.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

IWVGA board talks future administrative structure

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority rolled out concepts for an administrative structure that could eventually cement the new agency as an independent entity — should money ever be found to fund them.

Aquafornia news Del Mar Times

Santa Fe Irrigation selects multi-tiered structure for water rate increases

The Santa Fe Irrigation District board recommended moving forward with a new five-tier rate structure for its proposed three percent water rate increase. The board is expected to make a final decision on the rates by January 2020 to ensure the financial stability of the district and meet its objectives of equity across customer classes and encouraging conservation.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Who runs your water system? UC Davis research shows why water governance matters

A new article on UC Davis’s California Water Blog shines a light on just how complicated water governance can be and why it matters… For more, listen to this interview with Kristin Dobbin, one of the article’s co-authors and a UC Davis Ph.D. student studying regional water management and drinking water disparities in California.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Higher groundwater pumping fees are coming to Oxnard

The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency … discussed reasons why the area will reduce pumping in the future to meet its sustainability goals as it moves toward 2040. Cities can expect considerable pumping fee increases per acre-feet of water and can have far-reaching effects on the local economy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

DWP, reeling from scandals and FBI raids, gets a new watchdog office

Months after federal investigators raided the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday announced the creation of an inspector general’s office at the utility.

Aquafornia news The Record Gazette

Water meters in Banning are getting smarter

The city council approved paying Zenner USA … $1.6 million to purchase automatic metering infrastructure, water meters, communications equipment and software and hardware at its Aug. 27 meeting. The meters themselves will be made in Banning. … The city is in the process of converting from manual meter reading to relying instead on automatic meter reading…

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

County sales tax for water projects is extended indefinitely

A quarter-cent sales tax raising $100 million annually for water and wastewater projects will remain in place indefinitely following a decision Tuesday by the Clark County Commission. … The 6-1 vote removes a sunset clause that would have made the tax expire in 2025.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A city auditor was investigating DWP contracts. She says she was warned not to be ‘thorough’

As a high-level government auditor, Beth Kennedy has investigated or reviewed the spending of many city of Los Angeles departments without serious incident, she says. But now, Kennedy … is alleging she was warned not to delve too deeply into controversial contracts awarded by the Department of Water of Power, according to a legal claim she filed against the city last month.

Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

Many Foothills residents will have higher water bills in September

Roughly 33,000 residents of foothill communities will see an increase in their water bills beginning Sept. 1, when a pair of recently approved rate hikes are set to go into effect. On Tuesday, Crescenta Valley Water District board members voted 4-1 to go forward with a 7% increase in water rates and a 4% hike in sewer rates.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Two small agencies want a divorce from the San Diego County Water Authority. It could get messy

While there’s no court action yet, the Water Authority is gearing up for what in the water world amounts to a rare change in relationship status. After decades buying water from the Water Authority, Rainbow and Fallbrook want a divorce.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Hawthorne residents prepare for 40% water rate increase over 3 years

The City Council agreed to allow rate increases for California Water Service customers of roughly 13 percent each of the next three years. … For the average family paying $71.43 per month on a water bill, the cost would increase by $9.31 the first year, $9.25 the second year and $10.35 the third year, based on a projection by Cal Water officials.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout plan reviewed by water board

It could take two more years before the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is ready to consider a resolution of necessity to go ahead with eminent domain proceedings aimed at a forced acquisition of California American Water’s local water system.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Plan for public buyout of local Cal Am water system set for Monterey water board review

Released on Friday, the 15-page plan authored by water district general manager Dave Stoldt outlines a recommended approach to meet the district’s formal policy of pursuing public control of all “water production, storage and delivery assets and infrastructure,” as established by voter-approved Measure J.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Water costs divide City Council

The City Council is split on how much to raise water rates over the next five years to fund projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water. … Bi-monthly water and wastewater bills for single-family homes would increase by $23 on average under the lower rate structure and $36 under the higher rate structure.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Could this be a ‘golden goose’ for Yuba County?

For five decades, PG&E paid for and operated the Colgate Powerhouse in exchange for the revenue generated by the hydroelectric generation. But now, instead of tens of millions of dollars flowing out to the utility, that agreement has expired and the revenue, potentially as much as $30 million per year, is flowing back into the Yuba Water Agency.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Will free markets clean up California’s dirty water?

There’s no law of nature nor of economics that says water must be delivered by a government agency. Yet in California, nearly every drop of flowing water is under the boot of a public authority — local boards, state authorities and federal regulators.

Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation District weighs options for water rate structures

Last December, the board voted not to adopt a proposal to raise rates by an average of 3 percent over the three years, sending the district back to work with its consultants to come up with a different plan that would be best for ratepayers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County warns of phone scam posing as water agency

The Sacramento County Water Agency says customers have alerted the agency to the scheme, in which the caller claims county officials will shut off their water within 30 minutes if they don’t make a payment, the county Department of Water Resources said Tuesday in a news release.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Opinion: Clean drinking water is a social justice crisis and AB792 is the wrong way forward

For years, bottled water has served as one of the only dependable options for consumption and sanitary needs, serving as a simple way for communities to access affordable and available water. Yet, a proposed bill in the California state legislature, Assembly Bill 792, has the potential to impose a de facto tax on bottled water, leading to significant jump in cost, and making it unaffordable for many disadvantaged families.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Feasibility study on Cal Am buyout delayed, written plan on track

A feasibility analysis of a potential public buyout of California American Water’s local water system will be delayed a few months. But the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District will go ahead with a required written public ownership plan…

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Central Basin Water District is now charging even noncustomers in Southeast L.A. County

Kevin Hunt, general manager for Central Basin Municipal Water District, said his agency needs the $600,000-plus the fee will raise to balance its $10 million budget. The water wholesaler has significant money problems because of decreasing water sales.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am seeks three-year rate increase starting in 2021

California American Water is seeking to raise its Monterey area average customers’ bills by nearly 18 percent over a three-year period from 2021-2023. … Under the proposal, the “average” Cal Am customer would see their monthly rates increase from about $89.40 to $105.42 over the three-year period.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito pursues project funding for groundwater basin management plan

The Groundwater Sustainability Agency board will submit a sustainability plan to the Department of Water Resources in 2021 and begin to implement that plan in 2022-2024. The board last week heard a presentation about funding options to pay for the groundwater management plan — including fees, taxes or assessments to customers — and specific projects to implement the plan…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego aims to bolster biotech, breweries with new water proposals

San Diego plans to boost the city’s already thriving biotech and craft beer industries by reducing their costs for sewer and water service, which are typically high because those businesses are water-dependent.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Interlake Tunnel, dam repairs cost now nearly $190 million

It will cost about $189.5 million to complete the proposed Interlake Tunnel project and the state-required Lake San Antonio dam repairs, according to a county Water Resources Agency report to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. And $162.5 million of that will have to be paid for by Salinas Valley property owners through a special assessment as early as spring next year.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Daily Post

Sewer agency chief got $875,000 in severance

The sewage processing agency that serves Menlo Park, San Carlos, Belmont and Redwood City paid its former general manager $875,000 as part of a severance agreement, according to documents obtained by the Post. However, the circumstances behind the departure of Daniel Child are about as murky as the effluent that flows into the agency’s plant…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Overcharged DWP customers could get an additional $50 million in refunds, new lawyers say

In a legal filing made Thursday, attorneys Brian Kabateck, Anastasia Mazzella and Brian Hong argued that key areas that had been previously overlooked could yield more than $50 million in additional refunds for customers — and that ratepayers are probably owed even more because of other omissions.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Water Co. reaches tentative settlement in over-billing investigation

Months after allegations the company over charged people for decades, San Jose Water has reached a tentative settlement agreement to refund customers nearly $2 million. … The refunds would be issued as credits for customers depending on their current service charges. According to the agreement, refunds for low-income customers who get a discount on their water bills would be increased to $25.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. Mayor Garcetti pushes out top DWP executive after FBI raids

Garcetti’s announcement came as activists called for more forceful action at the DWP, which has been reeling from a scandal over the city’s response to a disastrous rollout of customer billing software at the utility.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

FBI raids at DWP, L.A. City Hall related to fallout from billing debacle

FBI agents fanned across the Los Angeles area on Monday, serving search warrants at multiple government offices, including the Department of Water and Power, as part of an investigation into how the city responded to the disastrous rollout of a new customer billing system.

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Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito water rate study on desal deal with Santa Barbara gets delayed

A long-awaited Montecito Water District rate study, planned for release this May, will not be finished until later this year, officials said this week. The study can’t proceed until the district finishes negotiating the terms of an agreement for buying into Santa Barbara’s desalination plant.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

District raises water and sewer rates, despite protests

After objections from the public and lengthy discussions, Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors approved four types of rate increases recommended by staff. … Water rates have not been adjusted for three years.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: All Californians should have safe, clean water. But How?

When Gov. Gavin Newsom called for constructing and maintaining delivery systems to get water to at-risk communities in his State of the State address, he received widespread support. But the fight over funding for the project got divisive – and fast.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Montebello to unload its water system for nearly $18 million

The Montebello City Council agreed Wednesday to sell the city’s tiny water system to San Gabriel Valley Water Co. for about $17.8 million, four years after its voters rejected the idea.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: MWD’s new chair, Gloria Gray, prioritizes reliability of supply & affordability

Industry veteran Gloria Gray took the helm at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In this interview, Gray shares how she plans to steer the largest water supplier in the nation through changing political priorities and climate conditions to continue safeguarding the future of California’s water.

Aquafornia news Yahoo Finance

California American Water applies for new revenue to fund infrastructure and service improvements

The increase … amounts to an approximately 10.6 percent increase in revenue for the company. … The request for the increase will assist in funding system and infrastructure improvements to help maintain high-quality water service. The increase will renew and replace water treatment facilities, pumps and pipelines.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Opinion: In a few years California will begin to implement indoor water restrictions

Enjoy the days of long, endless hot showers while you may. … Eventually all households will be required to stay within a 55 gallon per day per resident indoor water usage for showers, baths, laundry and dishwashing.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Foothills communities face proposed 7% water rate hike

Crescenta Valley Water District’s board of directors have proposed rate increases for both its water and sewer rates. If approved, customers could see their combined monthly bills increase by about $7.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

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Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Calaveras Public Utility District ratepayers face 40% increase; district prioritizing infrastructure upgrades

The proposal is to increase both base and usage rates by approximately 40% in the first year, and by about 70% of the current rate by July of 2023. … The last set of rate increases ended in 2016, yet system costs have been increasing each year due to inflation and maintenance expenses associated with an aging system…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Huntington Beach water rates to increase for 5 years, despite protests from residents

The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday voted to increase local water rates for the next five years, despite receiving 691 protest letters from residents. Under the plan taking effect July 1, most single-family households will pay $53.03 a month — 70 cents more than now — in the first year of five annual rate increases.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Sonoma County approves plan to offset groundwater fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Water Agencyand the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain… Under the plan, the County and Sonoma Water would contribute up to $240,000 annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Moulton Niguel Water District agrees to pay $4.8 million in wastewater dispute

The Moulton Niguel Water District has agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle a 3-year dispute with South Orange County Wastewater Authority, which processes a portion of the district’s wastewater, according to a settlement agreement released Monday. … Moulton Niguel stopped paying capital improvement invoices for the plant in 2016, saying it would sign past-due checks only as part of a process to terminate its contract to use the plant.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Water Commission discusses proposed surcharge for “high strength” wastewater

As the city considers changes to its wastewater rates, its consultant, Nebraska-based HDR Engineering Inc., suggests users that send “high strength” wastewater to the city’s treatment system pay more because of the additional treatment costs. Domestic septic tank/portable restroom discharges, industrial laundry services and alcohol beverage manufacturers such as breweries, wineries and distilleries could be affected…

Aquafornia news KSBY

Atascadero moving forward with 19% wastewater rate increase plan

Atascadero residents will likely be paying more for wastewater services starting in just a few months. The last time wastewater rates were increased in Atascadero, President Bill Clinton began began his first term in office and Seinfeld was one of the most watched shows on television.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Valley Water’s farm subsidy to remain, for now

Like everyone else in Santa Clara Valley who uses wells, farmers will see their groundwater production charges go up 6.8 percent this year. But unlike the others, they’ll continue to receive substantial subsidies. In approving the increased charges for well users, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board left intact for at least two years the current structure that allows farmers to pay only 6 percent of the amount residents and businesses pay.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: One less tax: California lawmakers move to reject Gavin Newsom’s water fee

A Senate budget subcommittee rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water tax plan on Wednesday, instead recommending finding $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund. … The subcommittee’s decision to lock in funds for future budget cycles could eliminate the challenge of securing votes to pass another tax.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

South Tahoe Public Utility District to hold hearing on proposed rate increases

The district is considering a five-year series of rates increases — up to 5% per year for sewer and up to 6% per year for water. … As district staff have explained during public meetings, much of STPUD’s infrastructure is outdated and in need of repair or replacement. Additionally, more than 10% of the STPUD’s water system lacks adequate water capacity to fight a major fire.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

City council approves new PWP water rates

The new rates would increase the Distribution and Customer Charge, for all customers, by 5.7%, to generate annual revenue of $3.4 million, effective August 1, 2019. The new rates would also increase the Distribution and Customer Charge for all customers in July 2020 by 5.8%, to generate annual revenue of $3.7 million; and also increase the Commodity Charge, increasing the system average by 0.7%, to generate annual revenue of $0.5 million in July 2020.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Soquel Creek should re-examine water need

We have learned over the last six years that the water need for Santa Cruz to meet its own annual demand is 1.1 billion gallons less than thought in 2014, when the two districts were pursuing the desalination plant.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Marina, Coastal Commission staff disagree over Cal Am right to desal appeal

Coastal Commission staff on Monday reiterated to The Herald that Cal Am can appeal the city’s denial under the state’s Coastal Act because the city charges an appeal fee. They called the city’s own rules “internally inconsistent” and noted the Coastal Act’s regulations supercede local ones.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Are Santa Clara Valley farmers paying too little for precious water?

The water that irrigates Santa Clara Valley’s last farms comes dirt cheap for growers who pump it out of the ground. They pay just a fraction — 6 percent — of the amount residents and businesses in the valley must pony up for their well water. The rest of the cost for farmers’ water is subsidized, mostly from revenue the Santa Clara Valley Water District receives through property taxes.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California

A Q&A with Valerie Olson, assistant professor, and Emily Brooks, post-doctoral researcher — both environmental anthropologists at UC Irvine. They have a new project aimed at getting a better understanding of how communities, particularly the underserved, think about and use their water, and how the agencies that provide water can better serve them.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Rebuilding Sonoma County: Larkfield area moving ahead on sewer extensions

Gena Jacob figures she may come out ahead, in at least one respect, in the wake of the Tubbs fire that leveled her Larkfield home. … Through a program created by Sonoma Water and offered to 143 homeowners in Larkfield Estates, they plan to connect to a new sewer line — freeing them from the constraints of their aging septic system — with a financing package that takes some of the sting out of the cost.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water district signals changes to rate hike proposal

The district is proposing to raise rates by about 4 percent annually over the next four years and to impose a new annual capital maintenance fee. The fee, which would be based on customers’ meter size, would switch the district from borrowing money to a cash-based system for funding repairs and replacement of pipes, pumps, water tanks and treatment plants.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Madaffer says he’s the new sheriff in the San Diego water world

Since Jim Madaffer became chairman of the board of the San Diego County Water Authority, two long-time staffers have left and talk has begun heating up about a multibillion-dollar tunnel project to give San Diego a second connection to water from the Colorado River. The tunnel plan would be the single largest, most expensive and complex project the Water Authority has ever attempted.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Dragging feet on toilet-to-tap in Montecito

The current five members of the Montecito Water Board ran as slate candidates in 2016 and 2108, and they won election largely on the promise of recycling treated wastewater for irrigation. A group of wealthy donors poured $200,000 into their campaigns. Yet the new board seems in no hurry to get the job done.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Cal Am Water customers in Thousand Oaks to get way lower rate hikes

Some 22,000 California American Water customers in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Camarillo are getting far lower rate increases than the company proposed in 2016, saving several million dollars a year combined. Thousand Oaks officials said this week that instead of being hit with a 32.1% hike over three years that the company wanted to impose and which the city actively opposed, customers only got a fraction of that.

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

Court rules for city in water rate refund suit

A Superior Court judge recently ruled in favor of the city of San Juan Capistrano, as the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit seeking millions in water rate refunds have been barred from moving the case forward. … The lawsuit stemmed from the city’s 2015 approval to issue refunds to customers who overpaid for water under San Juan’s previous tiered water rates, which the Fourth District Court of Appeals had affirmed as unconstitutional in April 2015.

Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Pure Water’ dominates infrastructure spending in San Diego’s 2020 budget

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, saying it includes the highest infrastructure investment in the city’s history. … The budget includes an infrastructure investment of $715.8 million, an increase of nearly 300% over the $179.4 million infrastructure allocation in the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget … More than half of that is earmarked for the city’s Pure Water program, which aims to recycle sewage into drinking water.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Yes, we need clean water. But it must remain tax-free

Most states don’t tax milk, bread, fruit or vegetables because they are essential to human life. Food tax exemptions have been in place since the Great Depression, part of a social covenant formed to help the neediest afford life’s essentials. But Democratic Sen. William Monning of Carmel is leading an effort to tax something even more essential than groceries. Tax bills now under consideration seek to tax the water we use in our homes.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Water wants to charge residents for conservation

San Jose Water, the local water company, recently sent out a public notice saying it wants to impose a year-long surcharge beginning this summer. The reason? To recover what it described as an “under-collection” of more than $9 million in fixed costs. … In other words, thank you for following the rules and limiting your water usage, but that’s hurt our bottom line, so we’ll be sending you a bill.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

In Marin water rate hike debate, talk turns to salaries and benefits

As the Marin Municipal Water District gears up to consider another rate and fee hike this year, some of the public debate has turned to whether the district is paying too much in salaries and benefits to its employees.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: A California tax to clean up toxic drinking water has lawmakers jumpy

The water tax will require a two-thirds vote in each house. Democrats have that and a little to spare. Still, the governor will need to use all his power of cajolery and coercion to win passage of any tax increase.

Aquafornia news Lancasteronline.com

Aging workforce hits water plants especially hard

Behind every toilet flush and faucet turn that draws on a public water system, there’s an entire industry making sure the water meets certain standards. … But McKeon and others in the field worry about a looming shortage of water-treatment plant operators, as a wave of older operators hits retirement age. McKeon fears that in the next 10 years, there won’t be enough operators to monitor and control every public water system adequately.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton wastewater rates may be going up; public hearing set for May 21

Rate increases are being proposed in part to help pay for improvements to the Regional Wastewater Control Facility, which is set to go through the first phase of a modification project aimed at extending the life of existing amenities at the plant. The modification project will also improve working conditions for employees, and bring the site into compliance with national pollutant discharge standards.

Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

Helpful tips on how to save water and create a thriving garden in a desert climate

After a seven-year drought finally came to an end this winter, California has been hit with a deluge of vibrant greenery and super blooms. But we’re still keeping an eye out for how to make our own backyards more sustainable and water-friendly.

Aquafornia news Silicon Valley Business Journal

Opinion: Santa Clara Valley Water District proposes policy change that could hike prices on farmers

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority all recognize the importance of curbing urban sprawl, encouraging farm-to-fork enterprises, and providing open space for urban dwellers through various policies. However, well-meaning changes may have unintended consequences, putting these goals in jeopardy.

Aquafornia news SouthTahoeNow.com

STPUD to consider rate increase for adequate fire protection and pipe replacement

Customers of the South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) may be looking at an annual increase on their water and sewer bills of 5.0 to 8.5 percent to cover costs of replacing aging infrastructure and enhancing local fire protection.

Aquafornia news Gulf News

Opinion: Story of my glorious brown lawn

The view from my window here in central California is of a front lawn almost as dried out as the fairways at Carnoustie, Scotland. Like many of my neighbours I’m concerned about climate change and with it the exorbitant price of water. After my monthly bill tripled, I decided it was time for a new strategy. I shut down the sprinkler system and tested a new aesthetic. To my delight, I discovered that brown is beautiful.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district GM: Listen to consultants on Cal Am buyout feasibility

Feasibility of a potential public buyout of California American Water’s local water system should be based on a consulting team’s advice on an acquisition plan that could succeed in a public necessity court trial while seeking cost savings for local ratepayers… That’s according to a recommendation from Monterey Peninsula Water Management District general manager Dave Stoldt to be considered on Monday.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County’s long-time water chief retires

The San Diego County Water Authority’s General Manager notified the region’s water board on Wednesday that she is retiring. Maureen Stapleton has held the top job at the agency for more than two decades. She led the Water Authority through the complicated settlement negotiations surrounding the Colorado River. Stapleton also encouraged projects like the Carlsbad Desalination plant as a way to diversify the region’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Water department gets second major shakeup in a year

San Diego’s water department is going through the second major shakeup in less than a year. At least five senior officials are out, including one who once tried to waive off an audit of the city’s troubled “smart” meter program. In January 2018, the department’s assistant director, Lee Ann Jones-Santos, said auditing the city’s effort to replace 280,000 water meters might make that $70 million program look bad.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a key test on his embrace of a new California water tax

Newsom has embraced an idea that has previously failed to gain traction in Sacramento: new taxes totaling as much as $140 million a year for a clean drinking water initiative. Much of it would be spent on short- and long-term solutions for low-income communities without the means to finance operations and maintenance for their water systems. … But the money to change that — what’s being called a “water tax” in state Capitol circles — is where the politics get complicated.

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Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Redlands wastewater treatment plant ‘a mess,’ requires $40 million in upgrades

Redlands’ wastewater treatment facility needs $40 million in upgrades soon thanks to years of deferred maintenance, officials say. But it could be worse – building a new facility would cost $100 million. The original plant was built in the 1960s, and the last major changes were made in 2004.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Chico, Oroville customers object to CalWater rate increase

Of the handful of speakers at the California Water Service hearing Tuesday, none supported the proposed rate increases for Chico,  objecting to  high costs, compensation to high-level executives and profit made by shareholders.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

American Canyon keeps Sites reservoir in its sights

American Canyon will continue looking to the proposed, massive Sites reservoir in Colusa County to someday help slake its thirst. The city of about 20,000 residents is the only Napa County city without a local reservoir. It depends on the state’s North Bay Aqueduct that pumps water out of Barker Slough, a dead-end slough in the Solano County portion of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news California Economic Summit

Blog: New study explores opportunities for business to contribute to California’s water sustainability challenge

The new report, “Sustainable Landscapes on Commercial and Industrial Properties in the Santa Ana River Watershed,” explores how landscape conversion on commercial and industrial properties can reduce water use, increase stormwater capture and groundwater recharge, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Students get a lesson in water management

Water sustainability continues to be a complex issue and will require young, innovative minds to tackle it. This was the theme of the 2019 Innovators High Desert Water Summit, held Friday at High Desert Church. Hosted by the Mojave Water Agency, the event was titled “How Generation Z Will Save the Future of Water in California.” About 320 students, parents, and teachers from schools all over San Bernardino County attended.

Aquafornia news Martinez News-Gazette

Martinez City Council announces intent to change water rates

Martinez City Council agreed Wednesday to start the process of revising it water rates to make its fee system “defensible.” Many residential customers would see increases as a result, although a few customers with large meters will see their rates decline,

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Santa Barbara County retains control of contract for state water deliveries

Questions about financial liability and concerns over weighted votes among member agencies of the Central Coast Water Authority prompted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to take no action on transferring the state water contract to that joint-powers agency. … CCWA has been trying to have the contract reassigned since it was formed in 1991, but the Department of Water Resources would not agree to the request because it was unclear if a joint-powers agency could levy a property tax if a member defaulted on financial obligations.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Water districts make pitches to acquire San Juan Capistrano’s water and sewer system

San Juan Capistrano is looking to unload its water utility, as maintaining the system is expected to become costly for the community. The city is one of very few in south Orange County that manages its own water operations. After a 10-month review of the options, the City Council discussed on Tuesday, Feb. 5, which agency – Moulton Niguel Water District, Santa Margarita Water District and South Coast Water District – the city should enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement to acquire its water system.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California officials draft a $600M plan to help low-income households absorb rising water bills

Different from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water tax proposal to fix decaying water systems in poor communities, the proposal before the State Water Board is focused on providing water service rate relief for California residents struggling to make ends meet. It is modeled after existing programs that offer low-income assistance rates for electricity and gas service.

Western Water Gary Pitzer 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.

Aquafornia news KHTS

Governor Newsom’s proposed clean water tax would cost Santa Clarita $3.1 million per year

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget recently included a drinking water tax that would cost Santa Clarita homeowners 95 cents per month to help disadvantaged communities clean up contaminated water sources. Santa Clarita residents paying the tax would see their water bill increase by $11.40 per year if the proposal is approved.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: Upgrading the water grid

In September of 2018, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the report, “Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms”, which asserted there are five climate pressures affecting California’s water… The report recommends four policy reforms: Plan ahead, upgrade the water grid, update water allocation rules, and find the money.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

City won’t say how $3b Pure Water project will affect customers’ bills

San Diego is in the midst of spending roughly $3 billion on a massive new water treatment system, but city officials can’t or won’t tell customers how that will affect their water bills. New water recycling plants will eventually purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water. In December, Voice of San Diego asked the city to estimate how much customers’ bills will increase because of the Pure Water project. The city, after weeks of delay, finally declined last week to offer any estimate because “there is no simple calculation” they could perform.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito district board supports terms for water sales agreement with Santa Barbara

Terms were revealed this week for a developing water sales agreement between the Montecito Water District and City of Santa Barbara. The 50-year water sales agreement provides 1,430 acre-feet of water a year to Montecito, at a cost of about $2,700 per acre-foot. The terms of agreement allow for the possibility to purchase and receive 445 acre-feet of additional water each year.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Well owners looking at fees for their groundwater usage

Water well owners in Sonoma County may get billed for their annual water usage under a proposed water-conservation plan up for discussion next week at a community meeting in Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is hosting the Jan. 30 meeting to hear feedback on its proposed “groundwater sustainability fee,” which would provide funding to support the new agency.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

Water district weighs raising taxes or raising water bills

A long-standing feud over who should pay a $650 million bill for state water infrastructure reared its head Tuesday, as board members of Santa Clara County’s regional water district weighed whether to raise water bills or ramp up reliance on property taxes.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Water utilities call on big data to guide pipe replacements

Doing surgery on San Francisco’s water system is no simple task. Replacing one mile of distribution main costs about $3.8 million dollars. That’s just the direct cost of installing a section of drinking water pipe. There are also side effects: disruptions to traffic, sidewalks, and businesses when streets are pried open. In one of the nation’s densest and highest-cost cities the expense amounts to an incentive for well-informed decisions about what to dig up and when.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Alameda County Water District proposing 8 percent rate hike

The Alameda County Water District is proposing to raise customers’ bills 8 percent over the next two years to cover infrastructure costs as well as salary increases, benefits and pensions for its employees. The district also wants to create an emergency pricing schedule that kicks in during water shortages, such as in droughts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Babbitt: Colorado River drought plan just the beginning of tough decisions needed

A proposed Colorado River drought plan that will cost well over $100 million is just the beginning of what’s needed to protect the over-allocated river, says Bruce Babbitt, the former governor who rammed through Arizona’s last big water legislation nearly four decades ago. After Gov. Doug Ducey urged legislators to “do the heavy lifting” and pass the proposed drought-contingency plan for the Colorado, Babbitt said Monday that authorities will have to start discussing a much longer-term plan immediately after it’s approved.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Nasdaq launches California water pricing index

Nasdaq, along with Veles Water and WestWater Research, has announced the launch of the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (NQH2O), the first of its kind water index that benchmarks the price of water in a way that supports price discovery and enables the creation of a tradable financial instrument.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gov. Newsom unveils $144 billion budget

The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Shared interest in universal safe drinking water

California’s failure to provide safe, affordable drinking water to the remaining roughly 1% of residents is probably the most solvable and affordable of California’s many difficult water problems.  There will always be isolated small systems with vexing problems, but the number of Californians currently without access to safe affordable drinking water is embarrassing and irresponsibly high.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Newsom proposal wants to tax drinking water

Tackling what promises to be a controversial issue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on drinking water Thursday to help disadvantaged communities clean up contaminated water systems. Newsom’s plan for a “safe and affordable drinking water fund,” included in the new governor’s first budget proposal, attempts to revive an idea that died in the Legislature last year.

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

On second try, Phoenix City Council raises water rates

In a 5-3 vote Wednesday that — intriguingly — fell along gender lines, the Phoenix City Council approved an increase in water rates, starting next month. “I thank the women to have the leadership and courage to do the right thing. 5-3,”  Interim Mayor Thelda Williams said. … Wednesday’s vote overturned the council’s previous rejection of the proposed increase, on December 12, that was also 5-3. 

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California agency outlines $606M water rate assistance program

To subsidize drinking water bills for poor households, California regulators recommend new taxes on bottled water and incomes above $1 million a year, according to a draft proposal released by the State Water Resources Control Board. If the $606 million proposal, or an alternate version, is accepted by the Legislature, California would be the first state in the country to run a water bill assistance program.

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

Announcement: State seeks comments on low-income water rate assistance program

The State Water Resources Control Board will accept public comments on the draft report on Options for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program. The report analyzes options for the design, funding, and administration of a program as well as other options to improve water affordability. Comments are due Feb. 1.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Western droughts hurt fight against climate change

A new study out of Stanford University finds that 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide spewed from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho for power generation this century is the result of states turning to fossil fuels when water was too sparse to spin electrical turbines at dams.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California utility regulators failed to properly oversee water suppliers, state audit finds

State utility regulators have not provided the public clear information about water-rate increases or made sure that suppliers notified customers about hearings related to those rate hikes, a new state audit has found. The California Public Utilities Commission also failed to conduct audits of private water utilities as required by law, according to findings released Tuesday by the California State Auditor.

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Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Palm Desert resident sues CVWD over property taxes, claims they illegally benefit farmers

Palm Desert resident Randy Roberts filed a class-action lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Water District on Dec. 3, claiming the cash-rich agency is illegally taxing non-agricultural homeowners and businesses and has diverted more than $60 million to fund projects that often benefit large farmers. … Roberts, a longtime critic of the water district, charges it has violated state voter-approved laws, including Prop. 13 and Prop. 218, and the constitution. 

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Los Angeles water officials cancel settlement meeting with San Diego County Water Authority

An offer last week by the San Diego County Water Authority board chairman to settle a host of litigation with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was not well received by water officials to the north. MWD leaders accused their San Diego counterparts of violating an agreement to negotiate in private and abruptly canceled a meeting previously scheduled for Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: San Diego County Water Authority proposes sweeping legal settlement with Metropolitan Water District

San Diego County water officials, who have been mired in legal disputes with their counterparts to the north over billions of dollars in rates and methodology, proposed a sweeping compromise Thursday that, if accepted, could end years of acrimony and expensive litigation.

Aquafornia news High Country News

The country’s cheapest water is in the West’s driest cities

If water were priced according to demand, many Westerners would be smelly and thirsty. But water is a necessity, and demand-based pricing would be unethical. … In California, for example, state law Proposition 218 outlaws water prices that are higher than the cost of providing water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

State launches investigation into San Jose Water over-billing claims

A state commission will formally consider whether the San Jose Water Company has over-billed customers by millions of dollars for years. On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced that it had opened an investigation into the company’s billing practices after a  staff report suggested that for at least 30 years, San Jose Water failed to pro-rate bills when a change in service charges went into effect in the middle of a billing cycle.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Over-billings on water meters in San Diego topped $2 million

When customers started complaining early last year about spiking water bills, authorities downplayed the situation. Water department officials repeatedly said that leaky toilets, broken sprinklers and the rising cost of water were likely to blame, even as customer complaints flooded into the agency’s public hotline for months.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6 billion loan from Trump administration

Critical permits and legal challenges are still pending, and some farming groups still haven’t committed to paying for part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion Delta tunnels project. But even with the uncertainty, backers of the project are poised to ask the Trump administration for a $1.6 billion federal loan that millions of Californians ultimately would have to repay through increases in their water bills.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Federal bill would push water utility repairs without rate hikes

Recognizing that complying with federal requirements can cause water utilities to raise rates, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a bill this week aimed at helping low-income households pay their bills.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Price of water 2018: Utilities revise household water rate formulas

In contrast to the federal government’s chronic underinvestment in the pipes, pumps, and plants that supply and treat the nation’s drinking water, America’s large cities are forging ahead with fresh spending to modernize their systems. … The largest price increases occurred in California, where major utilities are in a construction frenzy to cleanse dirty water for reuse, gird pipes against earthquakes, and respond to water-supply vulnerabilities that were exposed during the five-year drought that ended last year. 

Aquafornia news Brookings

Can people afford American infrastructure?

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.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Poseidon desalination plant: What to know about its pros and cons for Southern California water

The day of reckoning is drawing near for Huntington Beach’s long-planned desalination plant, which would help quench Orange County’s thirst with sea water and free up imported water for the rest of the Southern California. Twenty years and $50 million into the process, officials with plant purveyor Poseidon are optimistic they will get their final two permits — possibly by year’s end.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco raising water, sewer rates over 4 years

Water bills in San Francisco are set to rise steadily over the next four years, after the approval of a rate schedule by the city’s Public Utilities Commission. …  In addition to funding the commission’s regular operations, the rate increases will pay for a series of ambitious infrastructure upgrades to the city’s sewer system and vast Hetch Hetchy network that sends drinking water to 2.7 million Bay Area residents.

Aquafornia news Truckee Sun

Tahoe-Truckee area water agencies oppose California drinking water fee

The Tahoe-Truckee area’s water agencies say they oppose a budget trailer bill that is part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget. The bill, according to the Association of California Water Agencies, is essentially a modified form of State Bill 623, dubbed the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California plans to spend $11 billion on the Delta tunnels. Who will end up paying?

When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to finance the lion’s share of the delta tunnels project, some on the board called it a bold stroke of leadership. The delegations from Los Angeles and San Diego, however, called the move alarming, financially risky and irresponsible.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New fees proposed to pay for California’s contaminated water problem

As part of his final budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown wants new fees on water to provide clean and affordable drinking water to the approximately 1 million Californians who are exposed to contaminated water in their homes and communities each year. … About 100 state residents who lack access to clean drinking water will head to the Capitol today and join with several lawmakers to support Brown’s proposal … 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Californians are struggling to pay for rising water rates

Max Gomberg, the State Water Resources Control Board’s climate and conservation manager, says the price of water has increased at six times the rate of inflation across the state. Gomberg’s agency is currently drafting a set of recommendations that will help the state legislature develop a financial assistance program for residents with soaring water rates.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Hundreds turn out to public forum to discuss skyrocketing water bills

Hundreds of frustrated and angry residents turned out Thursday night for a city-held public forum at Mira Mesa Senior Center to address surging water bills — a long-simmering controversy that has now reached a boiling point.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California Water Board delays affordability report

Citing the need for more deliberation, California regulators delayed publication of a report that will outline their preferred plan to fund and manage a statewide program to help poor residents pay their water bills. As water rates increase in the United States, governments and utilities are exploring new forms of financial aid.

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