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The District is proposing raising rates to fund on-going operations and facility replacement needs. The District’s capital improvement plan identifies over $100 million in capital projects required to maintain reliable water service. A cost-of-service study was developed which identified that forecasted revenues are not adequate to fund upcoming and necessary facility replacements while maintaining adequate reserves. Portions of the District’s infrastructure are over 50 years old and in some cases are undersized for adequate water service and fire protection. Additionally, water quality regulations recently established by the State will require the construction and operation of new treatment facilities.
Water conservation legislation passed by the California Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2018 requires the District to meet specific, long-term water use reduction targets beginning in 2024. District customers have been successful in using water efficiently when called upon, and the District expects a long-term change in water use habits due to this success as well as existing and future state mandates which will collectively reduce District revenues.
The typical single-family residential customer will see an increase of $9 per bimonthly bill in 2024 and an increase of another $11 - $13 dollars per bimonthly bill each year thereafter. Customers who use water efficiently will experience less of a rate increase than customers who use water inefficiently. Low use customers will see an increase of $7 per bimonthly bill in 2024, and an increase of $7 - $8 per bimonthly bill each year thereafter.
Compared to neighboring water agencies, the District’s proposed rates continue to place the typical single-family residential customer’s bill below the regional average bimonthly bill.
The readiness-to-serve (RTS) charge is a bi-monthly fee based on meter size that covers a portion of the fixed costs of operating the District. Such fixed costs include maintenance of the water system and facilities, customer service, and administration.
Currently, the readiness-to-serve (RTS) charge covers 33% of the District’s fixed costs. Over the next four years, the District is proposing to increase the RTS charge to maintain its current coverage of 33% percent of fixed costs.
A "pass through" charge covers unforeseen increases in wholesale charges for imported water and groundwater management, which may be passed through to the customer as they occur. If the District finds it necessary to pass through unforeseen wholesale charge increases, customers will be informed of these additional charges in advance of the effective date, and each additional charge will be itemized on each bill.
There are currently no pass through charges being assessed to District customers.
The District expects a long-term reduction in water use habits as our customers become more efficient. This expected reduction in water use is one of the reasons the District must raise rates in order to recover sufficient revenues to maintain high quality water service.
During times of drought, the District may be required to reduce demands even further. For instance, in response to the recent statewide drought and limited allocations of imported water supplies, the District required all customers to reduce overall water demand by 20 percent compared to 2021 usage levels. Such a decrease in demand reduces the amount of expected revenues generated by existing water rates, which may impact the District's ability to maintain high quality and reliable water service.
The District's demand reduction rates will maintain financial stability and high quality water service during future periods of planned reductions in demand in order to address projected revenue shortfalls that account for the cost-of-service under each demand reduction. Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 represent potential future rate adjustments to address a 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% planned reduction in demands below baseline levels. Demand reduction rates cannot be automatically implemented - they require separate action by the Board of Directors before they take effect. Demand reduction rates do not apply to recycled water customers.
One billing unit is equal to 100 cubic feet of water, or 748 gallons of water.
Budget-based tiered rates reward customers for using water efficiently. The District uses publicly available data to estimate each customer's indoor and outdoor water needs (your water "budget"), and allocates sufficient lower-priced water to meet those needs. If customers exceed their budget, higher rates are charged for the additional use.
The District currently offers a budget-based tiered rate structure for single-family residential customers and dedicated irrigation meter customers. All other customers are charged a flat rate.
The District's budget-based tiered rate structure rewards efficient water use while equitably allocating water supply costs and balancing revenue needs for single-family residential customers and irrigation customers. Budget-based tiered rates fairly allocate the cost of water service based on water needs and water supply and operational/maintenance costs. The method recognizes the difference between indoor and outdoor use and rewards customers who use water efficiently with lower water rates.
Water budgets represent an appropriate amount of water to meet customers' efficient water use needs. If customers exceed their budget, they are considered to be using water inefficiently and pay a higher rate to cover higher costs associated with discretionary or excessive water use.
A water budget is an amount of water allocated per billing cycle representing efficient water needs. Like financial budgeting, a water budget gives customers a target so they can use water efficiently and pay lower rates.
For single-family residential customers, the total water budget for each two-month billing period is based on your individual indoor (Residential Tier 1) and outdoor (Residential Tier 2) allocations.
The indoor water allocation for single-family residential customers is calculated to accommodate four (4) people per household, based on U.S. Census and State of California Department of Finance data. Residential customers are allocated 52.5 gallons of water per person per day at the Residential Tier 1 rate, which is consistent with the State of California standard for efficient indoor water use.
The outdoor water allocation for single-family residential customers is calculated according to a property's estimated irrigated area, based on County of San Bernardino parcel data (lot size, house footprint) and estimated hardscape (garages/carports, driveway, sidewalks, etc.). Residential customers are allocated 24 gallons per square foot of irrigated area at the Residential Tier 2 rate. The estimated irrigable area is the parcel lot size less the dwelling footprint less 30% for hardscape. The allocation is consistent with the State efficiency standards for outdoor water use on mixed residential landscapes (~80% grass, ~20% water-efficient plants). The outdoor water allocation is distributed per billing period based on the seasonal water needs of plants (more in the warmer months, less in the cooler months).
For dedicated irrigation metered customers (outdoor use only), the water budget for each two-month billing period is based on an outdoor water allocation calculated according to a property's lot size or measured irrigated area. Irrigation customers are allocated 28 gallons per square foot of irrigated area at the Irrigation Tier 1 rate, which is consistent with the State of California standard for efficient outdoor water use on large non-residential landscapes (100% grass).
Indoor water use is essential for public health and safety, while outdoor water use is necessary for growing aesthetically pleasing plants and landscaping. Additionally, it is more expensive to supply the water needed for outdoor uses due to peaking factors; in other words, we need additional water supply and distribution system capacity to meet the needs of outdoor watering, particularly in the summer months. Therefore, the cost of providing outdoor water is recovered through a higher rate. Outdoor water use can be reduced by increased irrigation efficiency and replacement of water-thirsty grass with more water-efficient plants.
Customers may apply for a variance to their water budget to adjust the number of people in a household, irrigated area, or for a special circumstance such as a home daycare facility. Download an Application for Water Budget Variance (PDF).
MVWD's website offers lots of information and opportunities for customers to save water. Click here to visit our "Rebates & Programs" page for a wealth of ideas on how you can save water.
How old are your water using appliances? Manufacturers are constantly improving appliances like toilets and clothes washers to be more water efficient. Visit www.socalwatersmart.com to see the list of rebates available for new, water efficient appliances.
Is your outdoor watering as efficient as it can be? Contact the Waterwise Community Center for a FREE landscape irrigation evaluation. Visit www.cbwcd.org or call (909) 626-2711.
For assistance or information on additional conservation programs and incentives, call MVWD's Community Affairs team at (909) 267-2130.