San Diego County Water Authority considers rate hike

The San Diego County Water Authority announced this week that it is preparing to raise water rates as high as 3.8 percent for next year.
The proposal will go before the agency's board of directors on Thursday but won't be voted on until after a public hearing scheduled for June 26.
The SDCWA receives water from the primary wholesaler for the region -- the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California -- and distributes it to local agencies like the city of San Diego or Helix Water District. It's those local agencies that deliver water to residential and commercial customers.
The increases proposed by staff would be 2.9 percent or 3.8 percent for untreated water, and 2.6 percent or 3.3 percent for treated water. The actual figures would vary between member agencies.
The water authority, which is fighting the MWD in court over its wholesale rate structure, said the proposed rate increases would be among the smallest in the past decade. The agency said the MWD is responsible for 74 percent of its water costs.
"These proposed rates reflect the cost of investing in a safe and reliable water supply for San Diego County," said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the SDCWA. "That strategy has worked well to help us avoid the worst impacts of the current drought, and it will continue to protect our region's economic health and quality of life."
The SDCWA has been working to diversify its sources, increase storage capacity at area reservoirs, and plans to take water from a huge desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad.

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