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
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.
A proposal to change water rates for farmers would have some
paying more money and some less, but would not bring more
revenue to the Modesto Irrigation District or affect the
massive subsidy borne by its electricity customers.
Several agricultural water suppliers seeking reimbursement for
state-mandated activities under the Water Conservation Act of
2009 are ineligible to receive state funding, the Commission on
State Mandates has decided. The decision, released in early
December, states that the suppliers are ineligible because they
have the option to recover costs through the Proposition 218
Thanks to December’s downpour, 1.3 million East Bay residents
expecting to see a 14 percent hike in their water bill this
month are getting a break — for now. The East Bay Municipal
Utility District has postponed its emergency plan to pump
Sacramento River water to local reservoirs as insurance against
a prolonged drought.
Electricity customers of the Turlock Irrigation District will
get a rate increase averaging 2 percent as of Jan. 1, following
a 5-0 vote by its board Tuesday morning. … TID also has
proposed a far larger increase – more than double – in farm
Despite early December rains, the East Bay Municipal Utility
District board voted unanimously Tuesday to augment its Sierra
reservoirs with water purchases from the Central Valley Water
Project and to pass on the cost to customers, if need be.
As the city [Claremont] begins its effort to acquire a water
system from Golden State Water Company one question looms: at
what cost? … On Nov. 4, voters overwhelmingly backed a bond
measure that allows the city to borrow up to $135 million to
acquire the system, which serves more than 11,000 customers.
Poor management and an unprepared work force hampered the
rollout of a new billing system by the Los
Angeles Department of Water and Power, a new report says,
resulting in thousands of incorrect billings and customer
telephone hold times of up to two hours.
After more than a year of bitter legal battles, Los Angeles
city leaders have approved a deal with the powerful Department
of Water and Power union that promises the first detailed,
public look at how two controversial nonprofits affiliated with
the utility spent tens of millions of ratepayer dollars.
Investors looking for promising growth markets would do well to
consider their water bill. “While the water sector offers many
opportunities to innovate and deploy new technologies, in
practice the sector has barely tapped the potential those
technologies offer,” conclude the authors of a new Stanford-led
report, “The Path to Water Innovation,” which recommends
spurring innovation by revising pricing policies, regulatory
frameworks and financing.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Measure W passed with
a commanding lead of 6,116 votes in favor and 2,452 votes
opposed to the initiative which taxpayers hope will reduce
water rates. Residents headed to the polls to decide the fate
of the highly contentious Measure W, which would allow
Claremont to borrow up to $135 million in revenue bonds to
finance the acquisition of the local water system owned and
operated by Golden State Water Co.
A month of water debate has delivered an unsurprising message
to Fresno City Hall — given their druthers, people prefer stuff
to be free. But the 150 people who gathered at Gaston Middle
School in southwest Fresno on Monday for the third of four
water forums got an equally unsurprising reply: Water is the
stuff of life, and it’s going to cost you.
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked
onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and
bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the
Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”
Drought is rampant these days in many parts of
the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift:
You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your
job is to turn around and use that resource in the most
valuable way possible.
In an attempt to reduce water use during California’s severe
drought, Sonoma’s City Council will consider raising water
rates next month and imposing a new tiered-pricing system that
puts the financial squeeze on the city’s heaviest water users.
This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting
water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next
door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the
last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.
One of the most extreme droughts in California’s history has
been hitting agriculture hard, forcing cutbacks in water
deliveries in parts of the Central Valley and leaving more than
400,000 acres of farmland fallow and dry.
If the severe drought gripping California continues much
longer, there’s a good chance that many of the Golden State’s
residences will be assigned a daily allocation of water and
then charged extra for exceeding that amount.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the
financing of water infrastructure, both at the local level and
from the statewide perspective, and some of the factors that
influence how people receive their water, the price they pay for
it and how much they might have to pay in the future.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of
the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta
Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater
monitoring and the proposed water bond.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the
changed nature of the California Water Plan, some aspects of the
2009 update (including the recommendation for a water finance
plan) and the reaction by certain stakeholders.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the challenges facing
small water systems, including drought preparedness, limited
operating expenses and the hurdles of complying with costlier
regulations. Much of the article is based on presentations at the
November 2007 Small Systems Conference sponsored by the Water
Education Foundation and the California Department of Water
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the
faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close
to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their
water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and
testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from,
how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality
are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water:
Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems
and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state.
It’s no secret that providing water in a state with the size and
climate of California costs money. The gamut of water-related
infrastructure – from reservoirs like Lake Oroville to the pumps
and pipes that deliver water to homes, businesses and farms –
incurs initial and ongoing expenses. Throw in a new spate of
possible mega-projects, such as those designed to rescue the
ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the dollar amount grows
exponentially to billion-dollar amounts that rival the entire
gross national product of a small country.