Water rates go up again in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Alameda County Water District (ACWD), located in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, recently announced another round of rate hikes. The base “commodity rate” on water bills for the typical customer will increase by 6.0%. Service charges will increase by a whopping 19.0%. ACWD reassures its customers that their rates remain in the bottom 10 the Bay Area’s 30 water agencies (the city of Burlingame is at the top with rates that appear about double those of the ACWD).

ACWD provides a wide range of explanations for the price increases including “the cost of rising prices for purchased water and other operating expenses.” These costs make up 25% and 26% of the rate hike respectively. Water from the Hetch Hetchy system is increasing 38.4% this year to pay for seismic upgrades. The ACWD is reducing the impact of the increase by switching to more local supplies of water. I suspect that other water districts reliant on the Hetch Hetchy are implementing similar measures. The next biggest expense is maintenance costs with constitute another 16% of the rate hike.

Note that while some of these cost increases seem temporary in nature, the ACWD is NOT communicating that any part of its rate hike is temporary.

Happy drinking!

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