Last month, the San Diego City Council voted to increase water rates by 16 percent in 2016. Although the new rates will affect both businesses and residents, the Chamber is in support of the measure, as it is necessary to create a safe and reliable water supply for the region.
Up to 90 percent of San Diego’s water is imported, which – in significant part to the California drought – leaves the region in a very vulnerable position. The new rates are expected to ameliorate the situation through several ways:
- Offset new water prices, which according to the Cost of Service study conducted by the City, is predicted to increase by more than twice the current amount over the next decade;
- Develop a locally-controlled, sustainable, and drought-proof water supply (such as the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the Pure Water program); and
- Replace aging water mains, transmission pipelines and pump stations in order to produce safe and reliable service.
The first round of rate increases will begin in January at 9.8 percent, then again in July at 6.4 percent. After implementation, two audits will be conducted in 2016 to report back to the City.