San Diego County Water Authority Adopts Budget Including Water Rate Hike


Water from a faucet at the public restroom at Lake Poway, Dec. 2, 2019.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Water from a faucet at the public restroom at Lake Poway, Dec. 2, 2019.

The San Diego County Water Authority said Thursday it has adopted a $1.7 billion budget for the next two fiscal years and will keep its spending steady compared with the current budget.

What the agency calls the “all-in” water rate — which is what it charges customers like the city of San Diego — will rise by 3.6% for treated water and 3.3% for untreated water in calendar year 2022.

The water authority said the increases reflect several factors, including rate hikes by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the cost of past repairs and rising prices for energy, chemicals and construction materials.

The city of San Diego buys about 90% of the water it provides to residents and businesses from the county water authority, and city staffers said Wednesday that they are proposing the city pass along a 2% rate hike to its customers starting in January 2022.

`I’m proud of this budget and rates package in an era of unprecedented challenges,” Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher said in a statement the agency released on Thursday. “We have contained costs while benefiting from strategic investments in water supply reliability that protect the region’s $253 billion economy and 3.3 million residents from statewide drought conditions.”

In 2022, the Water Authority will charge its 24 member agencies an all- in rate of $1,523 per acre-foot for untreated water, or $49 more per acre- foot than they currently pay. The charge would be $1,833 per acre-foot for treated water, or $64 more per acre-foot than in 2021. An acre-foot is about 325,900 gallons.

The budget includes the elimination of seven staff positions, along with a reduction in outside services and minimizing travel.

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