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Santa Monica Water Customers to See Five Percent Hike in March Bills

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 13, 2018 -- Time has come to set aside more money for using Santa Monica’s municipal water system, with a five percent hike in the rate set to start showing up on customer water bills on, or about, March 1.

The increase was approved by the City Council in January, and is retroactive to the first of the year, but makes its debut on City water bills as they start arriving next month, City officials said.

The five percent increase is the same as the previous two years, but short of the maximum nine percent hike authorized in 2015 as part of a five-year plan approved as Santa Monica, like other Southern California cities, tried to deal with a record-breaking drought.

After reaching the cuts in water usage it sought as part of its water conservation plan, the City Council opted to hold back levying the full increase ("Santa Monica Prepares Five Percent Hike in Water Rate," January 8, 2018).

For residential customers, the rates start at $3.16 per hundred cubic feet of water (HCFs), which is the equivalent of 748 gallons) for those using up to 14 HCFs.

The rates rise, topping out at $11.10 for 149 or more HCFs, or for 21-plus dwelling units.

Non-residential rates will range from $4.48 to $11.06.

The City is also muscling its way to being totally water self-sufficient by 2020, which means weaning itself from the 30 percent of water it imports from the Metropolitan Water District.

As the cost of water increased and the City juggled big infrastructure projects and staffing costs, its water fund was headed toward the red.

After approving a 9 percent hike in 2015, the Council reduced the increase to 5 percent in 2016 and again in 2017 ("Santa Monica City to Maintain Cuts in Water Use Despite Recent Storms," February 1, 2017).


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