The City must continually invest in our water and wastewater systems to maintain reliable services. The funds generated by water and wastewater rates are used to provide safe drinking water and treatment of wastewater for over 110,000 customers. Water and wastewater rates fund facility and infrastructure operations, maintenance and repairs, cover debt payments, build emergency reserves, and allow investments in capital projects. Rate adjustments are needed to advance water and wastewater projects prioritized in our master planning and capital improvement plans. Adjustments are evaluated normally on a 5-year cycle, and factor in inflation rate adjustments, cost of service changes, drought-related impacts, water quality impacts, and regulatory mandates.
Based on recent plans and studies, it is projected that $400 million is needed in water and wastewater expenditures over the next six years to support our community. To meet this demand, an increase in water and wastewater rates is needed in 2021. The most recent rate study demonstrates a need for an annual rate increase of seven percent for water service and six percent for wastewater service over the next five years. The increase is approximately $7.76 each month for the average homeowner. The changes to rates provide our community with the means to address critical challenges as well as provide new opportunities to strengthen our community’s water resiliency including:
- Closing an existing water supply gap by providing a new water supply resource
- Responding to state-driven regulatory mandates to improve water quality
- Maintaining a stable investment in our existing water and wastewater system so that maintenance costs are not deferred and greater in the future
- Addressing legal requirements to reduce wastewater discharge to the estuary