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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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…

Related article

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 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 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 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 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 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…

Related article:

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 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.

Related article:

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 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.

Related article:

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.

Related article:

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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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.

Related articles:

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.

Commands