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San Diego County Water Authority To Propose Rate Hike

Photo caption: The San Diego County Water Authority has been upgrading its existing water st...

Photo credit: San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority has been upgrading its existing water storage facilities in an effort to decrease reliance on the Metropolitan Water Authority. This photo shows construction at the San Vicente Dam to remove the right crest of the dam to increase the size of the reservoir, November 2009.

The San Diego County Water Authority's staff is scheduled Thursday to propose increasing rates paid by its 24 member agencies next year.

The proposed hikes are 6.4 percent for untreated water and 5.9 percent for treated water in calendar year 2017, similar to the hikes adopted by the Board of Directors for this year.

The agency receives water from a variety of sources, including the wholesaler Metropolitan Water District, and distributes it to local districts and cities that, in turn, supply customers.

RELATED: 25 Years Of Water Feuding In San Diego Explained

Agency staff cited rate increases by Metropolitan Water District, conservation efforts that have lowered revenue and the higher cost of desalinated water.

"The desalination plant has provided our region with a drought-resilient water supply that lowered state water-use targets across the region and is expected to help alleviate the need for extraordinary conservation measures," said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority.

"Improving supply reliability comes at a cost, but it reduces our vulnerability to prolonged dry periods and shortages that can harm our economy and quality of life," she said.

The San Diego County Water Authority plans to tap a rate stabilization fund to keep the prices manageable.

Staff will present the proposed rates Thursday to the water authority board, which will conduct a public hearing and consider adoption June 23.

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