City Council to consider water rate increase

By City News Service

A San Diego City Council committee is scheduled Wednesday to consider a proposed 4.94 percent water rate increase.

According to the Water Department, the increase is needed to offset the higher cost of imported water from the San Diego County Water Authority.

If the hike is ultimately approved, a water bill for a typical single-family home in San Diego would increase by $3.39 a month to $72.01, according to a report from the Water Department.

The change would take effect Jan. 1.

A 7.75 percent water rate increase went into effect in San Diego at the start of this year. That rate hike was also to offset the higher cost of imported water.

According to Councilman Carl DeMaio’s office, water rates in San Diego have gone up 65 percent since 2007.

DeMaio has scheduled a news conference at City Hall tomorrow to urge city leaders to reject the latest proposed water rate increase and instead reform what he says is wasteful spending in the Water Department.

“Leaders claim this rate increase is merely a `pass-through’ of the cost of water, but the facts show this rate increase is also driven by bloated labor costs that can be controlled,” DeMaio said.

If the rate increase is advanced by the committee, it will go before the full City Council on Sept. 21. The full council would then decide whether to notice the proposed increase under Proposition 218.

If more than half of San Diego’s 270,000 water customers return the mailed notice protesting the increase, it would be rejected.