SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego city officials announced Thursday a proposal to increase wastewater rates by 5% starting in January 2022.
It would be the first time the city has increased wastewater rates in a decade if approved.
The city said in a release that the increase will help fund upgrades to core infrastructure by replacing aging pipes and sewer mains, and future investments into the city's Pure Water water recycling project. The city said that project will help avoid future wastewater treatment costs and reduce discharges into the ocean.
The city adds that the Public Utilities Department (PUD) has proposed passing on regional water cost increases to customers, which would include four-year consecutive rate increases starting with 5% in 2022, up to 4% in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and up to 3% in fiscal years 2025 and 2026.
"The proposed rate increases come at a critical time for the City of San Diego with Pure Water’s promise on the horizon and the need to fix our aging pipes and mains so we can continue to provide reliable wastewater collection and treatment," said Shauna Lorance, Director of PUD. "We know many San Diegans are struggling financially due to the pandemic, so we tried to minimize the impact as much as possible with this plan, knowing that our rising costs are forcing us to propose increases in order to deliver the high-quality services San Diegans expect."
According to the officials, the city imports as much as 90% of its water, the bulk of which is bought from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA). While costs to buy water from the CWA have increased over the years, the city is now proposing passing on a rate adjustment of about 2% starting in 2022.
The proposed water and wastewater rate increases will be presented to the City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee on April 7. Then a full City Council vote is expected sometime in mid-September.