SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – City of San Diego residents can expect to pay more for their water as soon as later this year.
On a 5-3 vote, the San Diego City Council approved a series of water rate increases Tuesday totaling nearly 20% over the next two years, following a public hearing during which San Diegans largely urged the body to reject the hikes.
The first adjustment will be an increase of 5%, effective Dec. 1, 2023, followed by a 5.2% increase on July 1, 2024, and an increase of 8.7% effective Jan. 1, 2025. While ratepayers have previously seen smaller increases, Tuesday's rate adjustment is the first comprehensive jump in rates since 2015.
The proposed new rates would take an average monthly bill for a single-family home of a little more than $81 to more than $93. Single-family homes make up 80 percent of the 270,000 customers that use the city’s water system.
Officials said the city would use the money from the rate increase for the following:
-- to cover the increased costs of imported water, which is about 80 to 90 percent of the city’s water supply
-- capital projects, including the Pure Water system that is currently under construction
-- recently approved salaries for nearly 1,000 city water workers
-- maintaining and replacing aging pipelines, supplies and more
San Diego imports 85-90% of all its water, which "will dramatically change when the full Pure Water Project comes online," according to a representative of the city's public utilities department.
Pure Water is a phased, multi-year program intended to provide nearly half of San Diego's water supply locally by the end of 2035 by recycling sewer water. According to a city statement, it will use water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water.
For those struggling to pay their water bills, there are city and state assistance programs that you can apply for. Visit https://www.10news.com/news/news-links/city-of-san-diego-state-water-bill-assistance-resources for more information.
City News Service contributed to this report.