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 Livermore Independent

Zone 7 to spend $2.8M on Delta Conveyance Project

In a 5-2 vote, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board approved the expenditure of $2.8 million as the agency’s share for the next phase of planning on the Delta Conveyance.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin County seeks flood tax in Santa Venetia

Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from overtopping tides.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pipeline plan takes a small step forward (with some drama)

Things got a little wild at the San Diego County Water Authority meeting last week when its 36 directors argued over whether they should spend more money studying a controversial $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River. Outrage after leaders apparently skipped over female directors waiting to add comments during a discussion period sparked some to change their vote on the matter.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress and President-elect Biden

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the American Water Works Association urged the incoming administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure sector.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Homeowners can apply for rebates to transform their landscape

Residents in the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area can apply to get a rebate of $3 for every square-foot of lawn they replace with drought-tolerant plants.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Sanitation district error leads to tax bill overcharge

Property owners in the Sonoma Valley generally receive property tax bills in early October, which includes a lengthy list of percentages levied for various bonds, and direct charges for district fees such as fire, health care and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District. But for the third time in seven years, said Sonoma resident Scott Pace, that sanitation district charge has been inaccurate.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan

Opposition is building against San Diego’s dream of erecting a $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River in the name of resource independence. The pipe, which wouldn’t produce savings for ratepayers until at least 2063, faces its next trial on Thursday, when water managers meet to vote on spending another $1.7 million to do the next planning step.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Court determines plaintiff not required to exhaust administrative remedies in Proposition 218 challenge

The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District recently ruled that a plaintiff challenging the method that a special district uses to calculate rates in a judicial action need not first present her evidence at the Proposition 218 public hearing regarding an increase in the rates.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

‘Kicking the can down the road:’ Deferred maintenance at root of Cloverdale water rate increases

This Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Cloverdale City Council’s lone new agenda item is a costly one to Cloverdale residents — a proposed hike in the city’s water and sewage rates. The increases in both water and wastewater rates … is something that city officials say is needed to help start capital improvement projects related to the city’s water and wastewater systems.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California water board collects data on household water debt, utility finances

California regulators sent a survey on Monday to 150 of the state’s largest water providers in an attempt to shed light on the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Water Resources Control Board wants to know how economic slowdowns related to the virus have affected utility finances and, at a household level, how many residents have overdue water bills.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta Tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging … the financing of a single tunnel that would be built under the Delta for 35 miles.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Appeals court denies rehearing request over Oxnard wastewater ruling

On Friday, the state appellate court denied the petition by Aaron Starr, who successfully led a repeal of wastewater rates at the ballot box but the city is challenging it in court. The appeals court ruled the rate repeal known as Measure M did not provide sufficient funds for the city to operate its wastewater treatment plant… On Sunday, Starr indicated he will now petition the California State Supreme Court..

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan committee discusses funding planning costs, how to account for project benefits, who is in and who is out

At Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Committee, staff continued preparing committee members for the upcoming decision on funding the planning costs for the Delta Conveyance Project which is anticipated to be before the full board in December.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Coalition requests CA Supreme Court depublish opinion addressing Prop. 218 ratemaking process

ACWA and a coalition of local government associations filed an amicus curiae letter on Tuesday with the California Supreme Court requesting depublication of a recent state appellate court opinion addressing the responsibilities of a plaintiff prior to challenging the rates of a utility in court.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Opinion: Water district adopts reforms for sustainability

After months of meetings and thoughtful review, the West Valley Water District Board of Directors today adopted 10 major reforms crafted with staff and vetted by department managers that will deliver increased transparency, accountability and savings for ratepayers.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout EIR certified

In a critical step for the proposed public takeover of California American Water’s Monterey-area water system, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s board of directors on Thursday night certified the final environmental impact report for the effort.

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Joshua Basin will pay off pipeline debt soon

After nearly 30 years the Joshua Basin Water District will soon close out its payment agreement with the Mojave Water Agency for the Morongo Basin Pipeline. … The Morongo Basin Pipeline is a 71-mile underground pipeline built by the Mojave Water Agency that brings water from the California aqueduct in Hesperia to the Mojave River in south Apple Valley…

Aquafornia news The Catalina Islander

Edison to seek water rate increase

Catalina Island’s water utility wants to significantly increase the rate it charges water users. This won’t happen immediately. The process is long and technical. Visitors to Catalina may not know it, but Southern California Edison provides water services to the island.

Aquafornia news KCLU

Santa Barbara, Montecito set to make historic 50-year water deal official

The Montecito Water District is buying into Santa Barbara’s desalination plant, which converts salt water into fresh water. The deal calls for Montecito to pick up $33 million dollars of the recently rebuilt plant’s $72 million dollar price tag, as well as to share in operational costs.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Special districts push for slice of California’s coronavirus relief pie

Chris Palmer of the California Special Districts Association said districts anticipate a $1.26 billion COVID-19 hit through the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year. … Several special districts told the Southern California News Group they haven’t suffered revenue losses — yet — though they have incurred costs from providing protective equipment to workers. A survey by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California … found the same, though rate increases have been reduced or postponed in many places.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the district boundaries, including the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and infrastructure

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Just how bad is California’s water debt problem? The state isn’t sure

A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue losses for water providers across the state.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday Top of the Scroll: House Democrats ask CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic

To protect public health, Reps. Harley Rouda of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its authority under the Public Health Service Act to prohibit water utilities from shutting off service to customers who are behind on their bills… Water industry groups point to several reasons why a national moratorium would be problematic.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Happy Valley residents fighting back against water rate increase

The way Beverly Fickes sees it, there’s more at stake than just a vote to increase water rates Monday in Happy Valley. She believes the result of that vote could change the very nature of the semi-rural area southwest of Redding.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid water bills a “pending disaster” the state is trying to head off

If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave” of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems, it has to get a picture of current impacts… Which is why the State Water Resources Control Board directed staff on Tuesday to begin a survey of California’s nearly 3,000 community water systems.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Support of Poseidon’s desalination at stake in water board election

For years, the Orange County Water District has expressed interest in buying the desalted water, provided Poseidon receives the necessary regulatory permits. But the water district’s appetite for the controversial project could be in jeopardy after Nov. 3, if two board members who support the project are upset in their reelection bids and replaced by Poseidon skeptics.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Orange County desalination project doesn’t pencil out

Unfortunately, some Wall Street water companies are trying to take advantage of California’s drought fears by pushing through overpriced and unnecessary water projects. Poseidon Water Co. is one of those companies. Poseidon has been working for years to build a seawater desalination plant in Orange County, seeking a deal that would lock the local utility into buying their water for decades, regardless of need.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Pre-election meltdown at Montecito Sanitary

Some call it a “quiet revolution.” Others, a “hostile takeover.” Either way, on the heels of a severe drought, a group of wealthy Montecitans, many of them members of the Birnam Wood and Valley Club golf courses on East Valley Road, will gain control over all aspects of water policy on November 3 and for the foreseeable future in this exclusive enclave of one-acre lots and large estates.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Madness and arrogance” forced lawsuit against desert groundwater agency

Two lawsuits accusing the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority of ramming through a plan that ignores water rights and, according to one plaintiff, is intended to “destroy agriculture” were filed this week. At issue is a controversial $2,000-per-acre-foot fee that would be charged to certain groundwater users over a five-year period. That money is intended to raise $50 million to buy Central Valley water and, somehow, bring it over the Sierra Nevada to replenish the overdrafted desert aquifer.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County Water Authority sets agricultural water discount in exchange for reliability

Participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water, while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per acre-foot. Farmers who participate will receive a lower level of water service during shortages or emergencies. That allows the water authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits. In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water storage and supply reliability charges.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Connecting disadvantaged communities to clean, reliable water in East Valley

Only a few minutes away from our beautiful Coachella Valley golf courses and music festival locations, there are thousands of people living in conditions without access to clean water or reliable sanitation services. For these families, if something breaks in the private water system serving their home, they go without water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion:  Water supply – the testimony that never was

Last week on these pages, you heard the President of California American Water explain their rationale for withdrawing their application for a desalination plant from the California Coastal Commission the day before their Sept. 17 hearing. What he didn’t tell you is that there is a feasible alternative project that has less environmental impact, is more socially just, and would be less costly to ratepayers

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Lawsuit alleges water authority failed to deliver desalinated water to San Marcos

The Vallecitos Water District in San Marcos filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the San Diego County Water Authority overcharged by nearly $6 million for desalinated water that was never delivered, despite an agreement to construct a pipeline for that exact purpose.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: When it comes to water access, the devil is the details

Q&A with Greg Pierce, associate director of the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA and a senior researcher, leading the Water, Environmental Equity, and Transportation programs. “Overall, water affordability is a big topic, and it’s new enough that it doesn’t have an entrenched definition. There are no state or federal support programs, and drinking water systems are super fragmented. That’s true nationally and in California, where we have 3,000 community water systems.”

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Citing revenue shortfall, state water board raises fees

Emergency regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board will raise fees for water-quality and water-rights programs. Agricultural organizations criticized the action and its timing, but board members said the new fees would be needed to keep its programs solvent.

Aquafornia news DanvilleSanRamon.com

Six candidates vie for three seats on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District board

The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board of Directors is one of the special districts set to appear on San Ramon Valley voters’ ballots during the Nov. 3 election, with six candidates vying for three at-large seats on the sewer board.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Cal Am withdraws desal project bid

California American Water has withdrawn its Peninsula desalination project bid at the Coastal Commission on the eve of the commission’s special meeting, citing social and environmental justice issues.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater externalities and the agricultural response to water pricing

Dr. Ellen Bruno is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. At a recent Silver Solutions webinar, she shared some of the preliminary results on a paper she is working on… The study considers the impacts of agricultural water pricing and the effect on water use and land use change.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Metropolitan Water District approves cost-cutting plan

The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Tuesday approved a cost-cutting plan to reduce expenditures in response to lower water sales and concerns about the financial impacts of COVID-19 on its member agencies. The cuts will save about $11.7 million…

Related article:

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: Metropolitan Water District can do better for Southern California amid COVID

The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have taken action to protect ratepayers by implementing strong cost-cutting strategies to limit rate increases without sacrificing a safe and reliable water supply or the ability to plan for the future. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Opinion: Impact of new Indian Wells Valley Water District groundwater fees on customers

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority has taken actions recently with regards to fees that will affect customers of the Indian Wells Valley Water District. … It is my intent to provide context for how these fees will translate to your bill from the district.

Aquafornia news Valley News

Rancho Water to refund bonds and cover loss from shelved rate increases

The Rancho California Water District agreed to authorize its general manager to negotiate bond issuances to save the district an estimated $1.3 million. The savings will help cover the loss expected when the board agreed to halt rate increases during the COVID-19 pandemic last month.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego County Water Authority seeks rate relief at MWD

With the recession and the COVID-19 pandemic causing economic havoc nationally and across Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority has adopted several cost-cutting strategies to reduce rate increases and it’s asking the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to do the same.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

News release: SFPUC extends popular emergency customer assistance program through end of year

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is extending its Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, designed to help customers struggling to pay water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which launched in May, was originally set to expire Sept. 4, but will now be expanded through the end of the year

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California must ensure water access during COVID-19 pandemic

In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order placing a moratorium on water shutoffs and requiring reconnections for households disconnected after March 4. … But record unemployment means California should expect a tsunami of water shutoffs when the moratorium ends and bills come due.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Water a public resource: How privatization happens Pt. 2

The water system owned by the city of Montebello is primarily made up of old concrete pipes made with asbestos, a once-common part of water and drainage systems. This system has not been properly maintained, and is now in need of $50 million worth of health and safety repairs and improvements. Why has this been allowed to occur you may ask?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California Public Utilities Commission fires executive director after staffing dispute

Marybel Batjer, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said Executive Director Alice Stebbins had taken the “appalling and disgraceful” step of deliberately hiring a “marginally qualified former colleague” over better-suited candidates, among other claims detailed in a report from the State Personnel Board….The commission watches over investor-owned electric and gas companies as well as telecommunications, water, rail and passenger transportation businesses.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CNBC

34.5 million households losing utility shutoff protections by Sept. 30

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans have relied on emergency orders put in place by state and local governments that bar utilities from shutting off services such as gas, electricity and water. However, many of these orders will expire by the end of September, leaving 34.5 million households without shutoff protections…Only seven states — California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Wyoming  — and Washington, D.C. do not have expiration dates set on their moratorium orders… 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Water district fires nearly all employees after they refuse to follow board’s illegal votes

A water district serving 25 cities and 1.6 million residents in southeast Los Angeles County, already waging a battle with customers and the state Legislature over its future, has fired nearly two-thirds of its employees in a last-ditch effort to stabilize district finances. The budget cuts … decimated the scandal-plagued Central Basin Municipal Water District’s organizational chart, removing every department head, most of its engineers and its entire water resources department all at once.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee passed. Now what?

The estimated fee would be $24 a month for the average residential user presuming a five-year repayment period, according to Gleason. The fee would reportedly collect some $50 million which would be used to purchase water rights for imported water, presuming the same users continue using the water at roughly the same rate.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

CPUC approves structural change to water bills

 The California Public Utilities Commission, siding with its consumer-advocate arm, voted 4-1 to halt what are known as water-revenue adjustment mechanisms, which sometimes resulted in unexpected surcharges on ratepayers’ monthly bills.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Water agency approves 7,000-percent cost increase

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority voted 4-1 to pass the replenishment fee despite significant public opposition. … Although residential users will see an estimated $24 per month increase, Searles Valley Minerals will see a 7,000-percent increase in water costs.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

CPUC to vote on water bill surcharge reform

A ruling that promises to rein in surcharges appearing on the water bills of 3 million ratepayers in Monterey County and elsewhere is coming up for a vote at the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday. The reform is proposed by CPUC Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves with backing from the agency’s Public Advocate’s Office. Aceves says the surcharge system failed to incentivize conservation and just ended up making water more expensive.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: New $15.9b Delta tunnel cost estimate: Revisiting DWR’s 2018 analysis with updated costs shows it is a bad investment

Simply updating costs to this latest estimate ($15.9 billion in 2020 dollars is equivalent to $15 billion in the 2017$) reduces the benefit-cost ratio for State Water Project urban agencies from 1.23 to 0.92, and for agricultural agencies from 1.17 to 0.87. That’s a bad investment, but it is actually much worse than that.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Water Blueprint proposes a valley-wide sales tax to fund its irrigation water plan. Is it feasible?

Earlier this month, CSU-Fresno hosted the event “Funding Water Infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.” The majority of the event was focused on the so-called “Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley,” a high profile new investment plan for irrigation water. At the event, the Blueprint rolled out a proposed funding plan – the centerpiece of which is a proposed 0.5% special sales tax in the 8 counties of the San Joaquin Valley.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: CPUC proposal would increase water rates for low-income customers

Residents and small businesses in Visalia who were struggling, even before the economic shut down of COVID-19 to make ends meet, should be very concerned about a proposal the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering that would increase water bills for millions of Californians, including low-income customers who use the least amount of water.

Aquafornia news Valley News

Rancho Water board postpones rate increases until July 2021

Rick Aragon, assistant general manager of Rancho Water, said that at the time of the first deferral, it was assumed that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions would be lessened by early fall and that the board could reconsider rate increases. … Aragon said the deferral would reduce the district’s revenue by more than $858,000, but he said the district had a good fiscal year recently.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Basin replenishment fee passed

The basin replenishment fee was passed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority with a vote of four to one Friday afternoon. IWV Water District Director Ron Kicinski was the sole no vote. The IWVGA voted after the basin replenishment fee protest hearing Friday failed. The IWVGA did not announce the number of protest votes received…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

‘Save Searles’ aims to save mineral plant from 7000 percent water fee hike

’The “Save Searles” campaign was launched Tuesday, three days before the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority public hearing on a controversial replenishment fee. The fee would increase water costs for Searles Valley Minerals by nearly $6 million a year, “pushing the company and the local community towards extinction,” according to the campaign…

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Eastern Tule Groundwater Agency proposes groundwater extraction fee

The proposed fee to be charged is $4.92 per acre foot of which $1.61 would go to administration/overhead, $1.78 would go to professional services, 65 cents would go to water accounting and 88 cents would go to technical monitoring. The agency’s budget for 2020-2021 is $1,519,210. The fee would fund $759,605 of the budget.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee, ag buyouts on the agenda for Indian Wells Groundwater Authority

The proposed replenishment fee is $2,130 per acre-foot of extracted water. This represents a composite fee which covers the estimated imported water purchase cost of $2,112 per acre-foot extracted and $17.50 per acre-foot extracted for estimated costs to mitigate shallow wells from overdraft damage… This would work out to an estimated fee of $24 per month for the average residential user…

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Millions in US face losing water supply as coronavirus moratoriums end

Running water had been guaranteed to about two-thirds of Americans as hundreds of utilities suspended disconnections amid warnings from public health experts that good hygiene, particularly hand-washing, was crucial to curtailing the spread of the virus. But now at least 115 local moratoriums on water disconnections … have expired. That leaves 46 million or so people at risk of having their taps turned off… [Note: The story makes no reference to California.]

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

California City OKs temporary water rate change

To keep California City looking green and beautiful in addition to saving money, the City Council approved a temporary acre-foot water rate change. … City Staff is working with Quad Knopf, a civil engineering company, to extensively review water rates and have a water rate study completed the next few months.

Aquafornia news California Land Use & Development Law Report

Blog: Municipal water rates are protected from referendum challenges

The California Supreme Court ruled that water rates and other local utility charges are considered “taxes” for the purpose of California Constitution Article II, Section 9 and therefore exempt from the referendum process.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: CPUC ‘yes’ vote could cut water bill surcharges for millions

If passed, the new program would promote water conservation and make water bills more affordable and transparent for millions of residents, benefitting both low-income customers and those who use less water.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a per-acre-foot extraction fee proposed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to pay for mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by continuing overdraft, as well as to begin importing water necessary to balance the groundwater basin. A public hearing regarding the fee is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at city hall.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District seeks $682 million parcel tax

After years marked by a historic statewide drought and devastating floods around downtown San Jose, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider has decided to ask voters to approve a parcel tax to pay for a wide variety of projects, from flood control to creek restoration, along with some costs of rebuilding the county’s largest dam at Anderson Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

More than 1.5 million residential customers owe $1.1 billion to their water departments

Most Americans give little thought to water bills, paying them on time and in full. But for a subset of homeowners and renters, water debt is constant and menacing. The burden is an extension of two notable national trends: the rising cost of water service and the general precarity of those at the bottom of the economic pecking order. A missed bill or faulty plumbing can spell financial doom… Sophia Skoda, the chief financial officer for East Bay Municipal Utility District, in California, said that Congress needs “to step up to its responsibility” to ensure that water and sewer service is affordable for all people.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

City council discusses grant for desalination plant

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday to introduce and subsequently adopt an ordinance authorizing a grant funding agreement with the State Department of Water Resources in the amount of $10 million for reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: If CPUC eliminates ‘decoupling,’ water rates would rise

As early as Aug. 6, the California Public Utilities Commission could vote to adopt a proposal that would eliminate a best-practice regulatory tool – known as decoupling – that currently removes the incentive of water suppliers to sell more water. This significant change has the potential to hamper water conservation efforts in California and raise rates for millions of customers without providing them any corresponding benefit …

Aquafornia news National Rural Water Association

Blog: National Rural Water Association backs Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act

The Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act allows USDA Rural Development to provide affordable and sustainable financial options for rural utilities impacted by COVID-19. Assistance includes grants, zero percent loans, one percent loans, principal and interest reduction, loan modifications and direct operational assistance…

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara council accepts $10 million grant to operate desalination plant

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to accept a $10 million grant — with the understanding that it will run the plant at full capacity for at least 36 out of the next 40 years. Some environmentalists objected to the council’s decision, citing environmental concerns.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

A small city wants to unload a leaky water system, but regulators say not so fast

The city of Bellflower wants to sell its aging water system to a big for-profit water company that is better able to manage it. But the deal could fall through. That’s because state regulators say the price is so high, it could hurt water customers across Southern California.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California high court sides with small town in water rate hike fight

The rural Northern California town of Dunsmuir can impose a water rate hike on residents to fund a $15 million system upgrade, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Water bills would fundamentally change under proposal headed for CPUC

Some Bakersfield residents’ water bills will be fundamentally restructured, with big cost implications, if the California Public Utilities Commission votes Thursday to end an experiment that 12 years ago erased a financial incentive to sell people more water.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Tied up in appeals, litigation over water fees could deepen Long Beach fiscal pain

Long Beach’s financial future has been thrust into uncertainty by the COVID-19 pandemic, but existing litigation over its practice of charging city-run utilities to access rights of ways could blow a nearly $20 million hole in future budgets if the city loses a court appeal.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

San Benito Foods sues Hollister over permit, claims extortion

In a court filing, San Benito Foods accused the Hollister City Council of “extortion of fees” for removing sludge from pond #2 at the city’s industrial wastewater treatment plant, which the cannery uses to dispose of its wastewater, and that it is in breach of an agreement between the city and the company.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

News release: Millbrae defers water rate increases to 2021

While the city has suspended shutting off water accounts for non-payment and has been working with its customers to set up payment plans, more relief was needed. To help offset some of the burdens of COVID-19, the Millbrae City Council voted unanimously this month to defer the July 1, 2020, water rate increase until January 1, 2021.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Politico

The new water wars

The coronavirus economic crash is tightening the financial vise on utilities that supply water and sanitation across the country, potentially putting water companies on the verge of financial insolvency while millions of Americans struggle to pay their utility bills.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Why your water bill might spike

San Diego’s water utility is preparing to absorb a five percent spike in rates this year despite cries from elected officials to freeze costs during a global pandemic. Why? The blame often gets passed up the proverbial pipeline.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Affordability of utility services in the COVID-19 era

Utility disconnections due to non-payment have surged over the last decade and some financial projections show electric utility costs are likely to increase 15-35% over the next three years.

Aquafornia news Roseville Today

Placer County, PCWA split $12 million revenue distribution

In 1961, Placer County voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of bonds to finance construction of the Middle Fork American River Hydroelectric Project (MFP). Nearly 60 years later, with the bonds fully paid and financial reserves fully funded, the first-ever distribution of net revenue from the MFP has been made…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego homes, businesses subsidize industrial wastewater polluters by millions of dollars

San Diego homes and businesses have been improperly charged tens of millions of dollars for a program that keeps toxic sewer water from being discharged into the Pacific Ocean, the City Auditor’s Office has found. A new report from Interim City Auditor Kyle Elser said the city has failed to charge Industrial Wastewater Control Program permit holders enough to cover the costs of the program.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves groundwater extraction fee hike

Local water users will pay higher groundwater extraction fees to close the gap between estimated and actual costs associated with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The fee increase was approved on Thursday by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unpaid bills spiking at some water utilities

Several state legislators have asked the Governor to extend his order prohibiting water shutoffs for nonpayment to even the smallest water utilities.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Pandemic and surging summer heat leave thousands struggling to pay utility bills

There are significant health risks associated with falling behind on bills and getting disconnected from utilities, said Diana Hernández, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and these risks are amplified by the extreme temperatures caused by climate change.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Phoenix tests water shutoff alternative

Inserted where the meter connects to the service line, the device cuts the flow of water into the home to a trickle. Phoenix, which began using the devices in early March, only to remove them a few weeks later once the pandemic happened, believes it is the first U.S. utility to use flow restrictors instead of shutting off water to households that are behind on their bills.

Aquafornia news Transparent California

Blog: L.A. Dept. of Water & Power security guard earned nearly $1 million over the past three years, new data show

Overtime pay at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) hit a record-high $258 million last year, up 90 percent from 2013. … The average LADWP worker made $136,045 last year, with a record-high 320 employees receiving overtime pay of at least $100,000. That number is up over 1,000% from 2013

Aquafornia news KXTV

Stockton to switch to ‘owner-only’ utility bill system

The new “owner-only” system means that new utility accounts in the city using city services can only be opened in the name of the property owner—this includes homeowners and owners of apartment properties. … The Stockton City Council opted for the new ordinance after a Jan. 2018 council meeting addressing unpaid bills. Delinquent payments were prompted by billing issues with Stockton’s dual water service providers–the city of Stockton and Cal Water.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Lake Powell Pipeline: Officials peppered with questions at first meeting

The public last week had its first opportunity to pepper officials with questions about the Lake Powell Pipeline’s recently-released draft environmental impact statement, a 313-page document from the Bureau of Reclamation examining how the controversial project could impact a myriad of resources in several scenarios.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Cupertino Today

Santa Clara launching program to assist on water bills

With families at home more during the COVID-19 shelter in place, water and sewer bills are on the rise. Combine that with economic hardship due to business closures and reduced work, and families are struggling to get by. The City of Santa Clara is responding to this challenge with a new program to assist residential customers. Those who have been harmed by COVID-19’s impacts may be able to get a 25% discount on their bill.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Governor says Baja used water as a piggy bank. Critics worry about his bigger plan

Baja California’s new governor, Jaime Bonilla, says he is battling to clean up widespread corruption that for years ate away at the state’s water agency. Even Bonilla’s critics acknowledge the corruption and the failing water system, which results in frequent sewage spills that foul Tijuana and San Diego beaches.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft

An independent audit of Baja California’s water agency alleges that former employees of the utility colluded with international corporations to defraud the state out of at least $49.4 million… Local and international corporations — including such well-known U.S. names as Coca-Cola, FedEx and Walmart — for years took water for their Mexican factories, retail stores and distribution centers without fully paying for it…

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s pollution regulators go toe-to-toe with Trump. Watchdog says they come up short

A California environmental advocacy group urged the state’s air pollution regulator and agriculture department to do more for minority communities in an annual report card it published last week. That report card, compiled by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, issued environmental justice grades to eight agencies, with a statewide C average.

Aquafornia news The Record Gazette

Water district board of directors pass on increase in compensation

The Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District will not increase compensation for its board of directors this year due to an economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic, despite a split vote.

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Water prices rise, so do tempers in Goleta

“We are extremely alarmed by this proposal, especially during this period of economic crisis,” wrote Carolyn Larson in a letter to the Goleta Water District, protesting the rate hikes voted in on June 23. Public outcry against the water rate increase proposed by the district reached a fever pitch, but ultimately too few protested to rescind the proposal successfully.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A glimpse at California’s new $202-billion state budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law key provisions of a new state budget, a spending plan that seeks to erase a historic deficit while preserving service levels for schools, healthcare and social services. … Elsewhere, the budget adds four more years of additional CalFresh benefits for those who live in communities without reliable access to safe drinking water.

Aquafornia news Black Voice News

West Valley Water board approves additional budget reductions

As states, municipalities and agencies continue grappling with the economic impacts of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, the West Valley Water District Board of Directors has taken what most consider a prudent and responsible approach to the agency’s 2020-2021 budget by approving $416,000 in cost savings and no water rate increases.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito Water District board approves new rates, supply agreement with Santa Barbara

The Montecito Water District took a major step forward to improve long-term water supply security and reliability during a special meeting on Thursday. The water district Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution approving a 50-year water supply agreement between the MWD and the City of Santa Barbara.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Friday Top of the Scroll: Water agencies and advocates join in seeking federal funds to reduce water costs

The coalition sent a second letter this week to California’s congressional delegation urging support for provisions in the HEROES Act, the relief bill now under consideration, that would help ensure consumers have access to clean water as massive unemployment has led to a spike in water bill delinquencies.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

St. Helena City Council declares Phase I water emergency

The St. Helena City Council declared a Phase I water emergency on Tuesday after a critically dry rainfall season. Phase I prohibits customers from adding landscaping and appliances that will increase water use, limits the watering of ornamental landscapes or turf to two days a week, prohibits the use of potable water to irrigate landscaping between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and imposes other conservation measures.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

In letter to Congress, water agencies call for drinking water relief funding

Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance and assistance with water bills.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Revealed: Millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay, a landmark Guardian investigation has found. Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Montecito Water District nears historic vote

Promising to “drought-proof” Montecito and banish rationing — if not forever, at least for the foreseeable future — the Montecito Water District board on Thursday is poised to approve the purchase of a multi-million-dollar supply of water from the city of Santa Barbara, every year for the next 50 years; and sign off on a five-year schedule of rate increases to help pay for it.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana Airport gets water back after paying outstanding bill to Baja California

Passengers and employees at the Tijuana international airport no longer have to use outside portable restrooms because the company that operates the facility on Monday paid about $1.5 million in outstanding water bills, according to the governor. A Baja California state water agency shut off services at the airport last week over the years-long billing dispute.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Goleta Water District Board to consider ordinance to raise rates effective July 1

Goleta Water District customers will get an opportunity to weigh in on proposed increases to water rates and charges to fund operations, meet district debt covenants and finance critical capital project needs. … For a single-family residential customer with commodity charges — using between zero and six HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water — a price of $5.26 per HCF would increase to the proposed $5.79 per HCF on July 1

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Zone 7 board postpones 6.7% water rate increase, citing economic downturn

The Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors held back on implementing a previously approved 6.7% water rate increase for 2021, aiming to provide some relief to Tri-Valley ratepayers in light of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. … As part of approving Zone 7’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget … the board and agency staff developed a plan to use one-time savings and defer some projects in order to freeze rates at the current level through Dec. 31, 2021.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Water, power bills may soon see increases

Long Beach residents may soon see a steeper bill for water and electricity costs. The Long Beach Water Board Commission approved a 6% increase to the water-rate cost, and separately, Southern California Edison also called for a 14% increase. … On average, the monthly cost of a household’s water bill is $64, according to the department. The 6% increase amounts to a $3.05 average increase to a family’s monthly bill.

Aquafornia news Politico

Democrats’ new rescue bill seeks water assistance, shutoff moratorium

House Democrats’ new economic rescue plan includes $1.5 billion to help low-income households cover their water bills and a moratorium on utility service shutoffs for any entity receiving federal relief funds, but they omitted any measures to address climate change or boost clean energy that had been sought by green groups.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Turlock decides to move forward with surface water treatment plant project

Currently, 100 percent of the City of Turlock’s drinking water supply comes from groundwater. However, the drinking water supply is declining, contaminant levels are increasing and groundwater quality regulations have become more stringent. For the past 30 years, the City has been working on securing an alternate source of water — treated surface water from the Tuolumne River.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

North Marin Water district delays Novato rate hike

The North Marin Water District will push off a planned water rate hike and restructuring plan for Novato until fall in response to economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After a nearly two-hour discussion, the district board of directors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to delay changes set to take effect July 1 to Oct. 1.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Water bill relief program created to help COVID-impacted households

The Cloverdale City Council voted unanimously on May 27 to reallocate unspent funds from its Neighborhood Improvement Grant program to instead provide a limited number of utility relief grants to residents who are impacted by COVID-19-related income loss.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District approves $376 million budget, no rate increases

The Coachella Valley Water District’s board of directors on Tuesday voted to approve a $376 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget notably will not include rate increases even though CVWD … had planned to implement one this year.

Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

San Diego’s agricultural industry gets permanent water rate break

Avocado, citrus and flower growers, along with other farmers in the San Diego region of California, will soon have the option to choose a permanent reduced agricultural water rate in exchange for lower supply reliability.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Elsinore Valley water district delays rate increase, extends freeze on service shut-offs

To further protect public health and assist customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District announced it will continue to defer disconnections for non-payment, postpone a pending rate increase and reopen lobby services.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Massive Lake Powell pipeline project affects all Utahns, not just Washington County

People generally think of the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) as a southern Utah project, which it is. But we should not forget that the project, first conceived in 1995 and mandated by the 2006 Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act, would burden all Utahns.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Rosamond Community Services District puts limits on starting water, sewer service accounts

The twin policies, unanimously approved by the Board, are intended to stabilize the district’s revenues by cutting down on nonpayments. Especially in light of new state laws that make it more difficult to collect on delinquent accounts, the district has been looking at means to better secure its revenue stream from water and sewer accounts.

Aquafornia news The Log

Poseidon Water’s desalination plan: Are there cracks in the armor?

Marine life mitigation, the need for desalinated water in Orange County and the overall merits of Poseidon Water’s plan to build a $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach were some of the main talking points of a 10-hour virtual workshop, held on May 15. Highlighting the marathon of a workshop: pointed questions about the merits of Poseidon’s proposal…

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion remains afloat

A Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal has narrowly survived another attempt to shelve it indefinitely even as the main recycled water project struggles with operational and cost issues that have further postponed its water delivery date and hampered its capacity.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Water rate increases possible for South Coast districts

Several water districts across the Santa Barbara County South Coast are considering proposed new rate plans. Here’s a breakdown:

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Northstate lawmakers urge Newsom to reconsider proposed cuts to Paradise Irrigation District

Northstate lawmakers and local leaders gathered in Paradise, Tuesday, urging Governor Gavin Newsom to reconsider proposed state budget cuts that would impact the Paradise Irrigation District. … Earlier this month, Newsom proposed cutting the second year of backfill funding to the district meant to help them stay afloat after the Camp Fire decimated the ridge’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Water district opposes listing Joshua trees as a threatened species

The Hi-Desert Water District opposes the proposed new status, noting that the Joshua tree is already protected locally with both city and county ordinances. They also said that, if the listing was approved, it could deter people from building in the Morongo Basin because most undeveloped plots in the area have Joshua trees that developers will have to transplant or work around.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

States are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns. What happens to frozen utility payments?

When states began issuing stay-at-home orders and millions of Americans lost their jobs due to COVID-19, governors in dozens of states temporarily barred utility companies from shutting off gas, water, electricity and even internet. … But as states move to reopen, those moratoriums will end, and advocates are already warning that many households won’t have enough money to resume paying their utility bills, much less repay their deferred bill.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Paradise Irrigation District could lose millions in recovery dollars

Governor Newsom slashed $7.3 million from his May revised budget, which officials say was promised to Paradise Irrigation District after the Camp Fire. … Losing this money could jeopardize being able to maintain their daily operations, like fixing leaks, customer service, and employee wages.

Aquafornia news Village News

LAFCO approves public vote for Fallbrook-Rainbow detachment

When the proposal for the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex to the Eastern Municipal Water District is heard by San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, a public vote will follow any LAFCO board approval.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be part of coronavirus response package

Access to water must be included as part of the next major federal legislative package. We cannot expect to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic without water for handwashing and basic sanitation.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Newsom’s new proposed budget cuts 2nd year of Paradise Irrigation District funding

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s many proposed budget cuts include the cancellation of a second year of backfill funding for the Paradise Irrigation District, worth $7.3 million. … The district lost 90 percent of its customers following the Camp Fire and has been depending on the backfill funds while it repairs damage to its system and slowly increases customers again.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

New park? Climate catalyst fund? On hold in Newsom budget

Facing uncertain revenues in the year ahead, state officials said they would prioritize programs aimed at improving air quality in disadvantaged communities, providing safe and affordable drinking water and improving forest health and fire protection.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

SFPUC offering reduced rates for certain residential customers during pandemic

Rates will be reduced by 35 percent for sewer bills, 30 percent for Hetch Hetchy public power utility bills, and 15 percent for water bills for those who have a SFPUC residential account under their name, have experienced income loss due to COVID-19 or the resulting shelter-in-place order, and a maximum income under 200 percent of the area median income.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Dems’ HEROES Act includes billions for utility, ratepayer assistance

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives released the HEROES Act, the latest proposed relief package to address the COVID-19 pandemic… The proposal includes $1.5 billion in funding for water ratepayer assistance to help struggling households pay their water and sewer service bills. Also included in the legislation is $375 billion to be distributed to municipalities to cover revenue shortfalls as a result of the pandemic, which may help alleviate the strain on some clean water agencies.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Oxnard expecting to lose up to $12 million, mulls borrowing from utilities

The city [of Oxnard] is expecting an $8.7 million decrease in general fund revenues for this fiscal year ending June 30. The projection for revenue loss next year is $9 million, although it could be as high as $12 million. Finance and Governance Committee members are expected to hear about a plan to borrow up to $30 million from the three utilities — water, wastewater and solid waste… The loan would need to be repaid on a 10-year schedule with interest.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Warning: Fraudsters are calling Pasadena Water and Power customers

Fraudsters have been calling Pasadena Water and Power customers lately, claiming to represent the city-owned utility, threatening customers their power will be turned off if immediate payments aren’t made, according to city officials.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Valley Water District rewrites budget amid COVID-19, may cut spending $40 million

Many of the cuts came from capital improvement projects, which shed about $65 million since the prior version of the proposed fiscal 2021 budget, roughly a 40% reduction. Projects such as restoration work on reservoirs, pipelines and other infrastructure are on the chopping block.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: California must keep small water systems from failing

In a pandemic when hand-washing could be a matter of life or death, everyone must have access to clean water as a public health issue and a basic human right. But what if you can’t afford your water bill?

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Water rate hike in rural town becomes tax battle royale

A referendum challenging a rural northern California town’s water rate hike rests on whether the California Supreme Court considers it a tax or a fee. Since 1911, California’s constitution has exempted “tax levies” from the people’s referendum. It’s an exemption that Dunsmuir, a town of about 1,600 residents in Siskiyou County, is trying to apply to its aging water system.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Double trouble: San Diego’s problematic water meter program may cost twice as much

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the city of San Diego to make millions of dollars worth of budget cuts. One project that is not facing cuts is the city’s smart water meter program, or advanced metering infrastructure. The Public Utilities Department, which oversees the program, has instead asked to nearly double the program’s budget.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop extends grace period for water cutoffs

The City of Lathrop assured residents impacted by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that it would not turn off municipal water to individual homes through the months of March and April for non-payment. And it appears  those assurances will now run through at least the end of May as public health officials and municipalities grapple with the realities of the pandemic and the impacts to local communities.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Water utilities want a bailout. Will Congress listen?

The industry and its advocates … are backing a two-phase plan to extend a lifeline to water utilities and customers who cannot pay their bills during an economic crisis, and to invest for the future. Step one in the plan is the provision of emergency assistance to both groups. There is still a debate about the size of an aid package for utilities and the most efficient and effective way of helping customers. But $1.5 billion in customer assistance is a common starting point in discussions.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Cal Water requests a delay in rate changes

The water utility that serves Chico and Oroville said in a press release that it was asking for the delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company wants to postpone all rate increases and says it is “committed to deferring other bill increases during 2020.”

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Water shutoff protections become permanent

The mandated policy prohibits shutoffs for at least 60 days following a delinquency and requires water providers to give advanced written notice and make direct contact with the residents before service can be discontinued. It also requires water providers, such as cities, public utility districts and community water systems provide for deferred payments, alternate payment schedules, and an appeals process.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Poll: 84 percent of Americans want investment in water

A new poll by the Value of Water Campaign released today shows that 84 percent of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. The near-unanimous support amid the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that voters value water and want elected officials to prioritize investing in infrastructure — specifically, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Metropolitan Water District raises water rates during COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn

Metropolitan Water District, the water wholesaler that serves 26 local water agencies in the Southern California region, voted for a two-year budget that will raise water rates during the biggest economic downturn in California since the Great Depression.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

In effort to save money, many Napans not paying water bills

A growing number of Napa residents are leaving their water bills unpaid, a trend city officials say is a likely indicator of the economic uncertainty sparked by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. … The number of unpaid bills has shot up, rising more than three-fold and six-fold in the last two billing cycles, respectively, city data shows.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: When utilities shut off water for the poor, we are all at risk

This question has taken on greater urgency in the era of the coronavirus, when every neighbor touching the crosswalk signal, or coughing on their way to the grocery store, is a potential source of a fatal disease. To effectively flatten the curve, it’s not enough to wash your own hands. We need everyone in the community to do the same.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Coronavirus: More members of Congress support water aid

The number of supporters in Congress for utility assistance in the next Covid-19 package continues to grow. One hundred ten Democratic members of the House and Senate sent a letter today to congressional leaders, requesting financial aid to utilities and the people they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

The economics of water main failures

Most municipalities that have been maintaining aging infrastructure for decades simply absorb the effort and costs required to repair water main pipeline breaks when they occur. Seldom do many municipalities make the efforts required to track the costs and evaluate the cost benefit of proactively rehabilitating the existing pipe line versus continuing to repair emergency breaks.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

House bill would ban water shutoffs, require water service reconnection

Legislation introduced in the House on Friday would offer states and tribes $1.5 billion to aid low-income households with their water bills. There is a catch. To receive aid, states and tribes must agree not to turn off water to homes during the coronavirus public health emergency. They must also agree to reconnect water service to homes in which water was previously turned off.

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Water shutoffs are suspended, but the bills will still be due

Even though many utilities will not be shutting off water in the coming weeks and months, household water bills will continue to arrive. Residents are expected to pay those bills after the emergency orders are lifted. That could pose problems down the road for both individuals and utilities, argues Greg Pierce, associate director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

Related article:

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.

Related articles:

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.

Related article:

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 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 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.

Related article:

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.

Related articles:

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.

Related article:

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 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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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 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…

Related article

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 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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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…

Related article:

Commands