Carlsbad proposes increase in water tariff, cites rising costs

CARLSBAD – Carlsbad City Council approved a proposed three-year water tariff increase at its November 3 meeting.

The city, which operates the Carlsbad Municipal Water District (CMWD) and manages water, wastewater and recycled water, will hold a public hearing on January 11, 2022, before voting on final approval.

The water utility, one of three serving residents of Carlsbad, must give customers 45 days notice and they have the right to protest, but if 50% or less of customers protest the proposal, then the council (which also acts as the Carlsbad Municipal Water District Board of Directors) may approve rate increases.

According to Vicki Quiram, general manager of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, the rate increases will help fill an anticipated shortfall in capital improvement projects, as well as cost increases to purchase water from San Diego. County Water Authority and treatment.

She said the cost of purchasing water from the county water district has nearly quadrupled since 2006, although with rising water and wastewater tariffs, the city’s water district will always be one of the lowest in the county.

“The cost of purchased water keeps increasing,” Quiram said. “Tariffs cannot exceed reasonable and proportionate costs and CMWD does not make a profit (according to state law).”

According to Quiram, the increases would include drinking water, recycling and wastewater and take effect on March 1, 2022 and are based on a cost of service study conducted by the district.

As for the amount, the average single-family home is expected to experience a total increase of $ 22.22 over the next three years for wastewater. For water, the proposed increase is $ 2.56 over the same period.

In addition, the cost of purchasing county water will increase by 5.5% next year, according to the staff report, and the county water district tariffs account for 69% of the cost of water expenditure. potable water for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District.

The municipal district is expected to generate an additional $ 13.7 million between 2022 and 2022 and make capital improvements.

According to Ryan Green, the city’s finance director, the district plans projects in five, 10 and 15 year increments.

“It’s been an extremely well run town for a long time and we have these tariffs,” said Councilor Peder Norby. “It’s a shame that we are in the situation with the cost of materials and projects.

When it comes to wastewater, the city hasn’t raised its tariffs for years, even to keep up with inflation. Tariffs are needed to cope with aging infrastructure, projects delayed by the Encina Wastewater Authority, depletion of wastewater due to conservation resulting in higher treatment costs, EWA decision to repay 100% of its pension commitments over three years and $ 95 million in infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

In addition, the CMWD estimates that demand will increase by 0.3%, 0.7% and 0.5% over the next three years. Other cost factors include rising electricity rates for pumping water into the system.

The district operates more than $ 2.1 billion in assets, including 815 miles of underground pipelines, 14,000 water valves, 4,000 hydrants, 12 reservoirs, 11 sewage lifting stations and wet wells, and a water recycling treatment plant.

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