GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

An equitable water rate structure: will San Diego ever have one?

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 5, 2009

I’ve written at least once my opinion that San Diego ought to enact a water rate structure similar to the one used at the Irvine Ranch Water District. Their rate structure defines a typical household’s size and water needs, then has tiered pricing in categories: low-volume, base rate, inefficient, excessive, and wasteful. If one’s household is greater in size than the assumed model, one can apply for a variance to accomodate the extra need and avoid being penalized.

As things now stand, San Diegans are subject to a superficial and ill-conceived rule that negatively promotes conservation (but not efficient water use) and criminalizes thoughtful attempts to reduce water consumption that may be at odds with mandated watering days, turns neighbors against each other, and wastes water agency funds on “enforcement cops.” Why don’t the agencies get to work on figuring out a reasonable water budget for households and other water users based on available supply and set prices to further encourage conservation?

It looks like Lani Lutar, the president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, may be asking similar questions. Today’s Voice of San Diego reports on Lutar’s contention that the city’s Water Department has resisted considering a water-rate structure designed to reward conservation and penalize excessive use.

Read the story here.

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