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San Diego County Water Authority Votes To Raise Rates

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Associated Press

Glen Peterson, left, looks on as Dan Denning, a water conservationist for San Diego County Water Authority checks sprinkler flow on his lawn as part of the county's "Watersmart Checkup" in Carlsbad, May 6, 2015.

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors on Thursday voted to raise rates 6.4 percent for untreated water and 5.9 percent for treated water in 2017.

The water authority cited increasing expenses for imported water and the need to pass on higher costs for water from the desalination plant in Carlsbad. The water authority, which delivers water to 24 local agencies and districts that distribute to customers, also cited the impact of state-mandated conservation on its budget.

"The region has invested more than $3 billion in diversifying our water systems and is a model for water agencies across the state," said Mark Weston, chairman of the water authority board.

"Thanks to the addition of supplies from the Lewis Desalination Plant, our region is less vulnerable to extended droughts than it had been in the past," Weston said. "That benefit becomes clear at times like now, when the region can sustain multiple dry years without experiencing water shortages that could harm the local economy and our quality of life."

The agency recently reported that enough supply was available to meet the region's demand for the next three years, even if they're dry.

According to the water authority, $20 million will be drawn from a rate stabilization fund in order to keep the increases from being higher.

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