Water agencies beginning to listen to ratepayers’ calls for MWD to cap rate increases and cut budgets

 Water agencies across Southern California are beginning to listen to ratepayer’s calls for cutting costs and capping rate increases at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Central Basin Municipal Water District, which serves about 2 million people in the southeast Los Angeles-area, sent a news statement asking MWD to rescind the rate increases it adopted last week.

Central Basin’s General Manager Art Aguilar said in the news statement, “We implore the Metropolitan Water District to rescind their recently adopted rates and freeze their water rates at current levels.  The lion’s share of our rates belongs to Metropolitan. It won’t be until they begin making cuts similar to ours that our ratepayers will really start to feel the effects…. But how have we gotten to a point where residents are being forced to decide between paying for water and buying food for their families? This question remains unanswered.”

Jim Knott, a resident of Oceanside, asked MWD’s board a similar question during its April 10 board meeting. “What should I tell senior citizens who have to split their medicine in order to pay their water bill? I asked this question last month, and I’m still waiting for an answer.”

While board members had the opportunity last week to adopt a more ratepayer-sensitive proposal by the San Diego County Water Authority, a majority of MWD’s board members rejected it.  Instead, they hastily adopted a proposal – with literally no comment or discussion – that increased “average” rates by 5 percent in 2013 and another 5 percent in 2014. No one pays “average” rates at MWD.  The rates MWD’s board approved April 10 increase its Tier 1 Treated water rate by 6.7 percent in 2013 and another 5.1 percent in 2014.  Water rates to many ratepayers could be even higher, as the costs their local water purveyor incur are also added to the retail customer’s water bill.

To see which delegates voted for the 5% increase, click here.