The water rate increase adopted by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) went into effect on January 1. As a result, the pass-through rate increase to Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District (Rincon Water) customers represents an overall 5.3 percent increase for potable water use.
Based on the SDCWA’s increase, Rincon Water’s residential customers will now pay $5.34 for Tier 1 (1-5 units), $6.21 for Tier 2 (6-24 units), and $6.59 for Tier 3 (25 or more units) water use during each billing period (1 unit equals 1,000 gallons).
Non-residential customers will pay $5.81 for each unit of water used. These increases will begin appearing on customer bills starting with the statements to be delivered in early February.
The SDCWA-approved rate increase represents a revised rate structure necessary to ensure adequate revenue to maintain infrastructure during mandatory drought reductions and associated reduced sales. It will address other wholesaler costs relative to fixed and variable charges, as well as to factor in costs associated with the construction and operation of the new Carlsbad desalination plant.
According to David Drake, Rincon Water’s Board president, most of the potable water used by Rincon Water customers comes through a complex system of aqueducts and pipelines connected to the Colorado River and northern California water supplies.
“The economy and our existence depend on this precious imported water that travels hundreds of miles to our faucets,” Drake said. “The costs associated with maintaining and improving this vast infrastructure have doubled since 2008, and are expected to continue increasing for years to come,” he added.
Although Rincon Water has worked hard to absorb rate increases in the past, its 2015 Comprehensive Water Cost of Service and Rate Study revealed it can’t continue that practice.
“Rincon Water and its staff have taken steps to cut operational costs and become as efficient as possible,” said Greg Thomas, Rincon Water’s general manager. “Unfortunately, we can no longer absorb increased costs for water outside of the District’s control. The Board of Directors is proactively working to minimize impacts on customers while maintaining the lowest rates possible,” he said.
The best way to minimize the impact of the rate increase is to become as efficient as possible with water use. Rincon customers are encouraged to register for WaterSmart, a free tool that allows access to hourly water use data, customized water conservation opportunities, rebate availability, and leak notification. See www.rinconwater.org for details. The new rate sheet is available on Rincon Water’s website at www.rinconwater.org/images/Rincon/Rates- 2016Jan01.pdf.