CVWD News

Posted on: March 17, 2016

CVWD workshops will provide information about proposed rate changes

Pie graph

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) will hold a series of public workshops to present proposed domestic water rate structure changes and rate increases.

Based on a comprehensive Cost of Service Study and national industry standards, staff is proposing a five year plan for domestic water rates and rate structure changes that are fair and reflect the true cost of service to promote financial stability. If approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting on June 14, the new rates would go into effect on July 1 and would be the first rate increases for domestic water since 2010.

The workshops will provide an overview of the proposed changes, answer questions and allow for public input. A Spanish-language translator will be available at each workshop.

The following workshops are scheduled at the Steve Robbins Administration Building, 75515 Hovley Lane East in Palm Desert:

  • 10 a.m.-noon, Thursday, March 24
  • 5:30 -7:30 p.m., Monday, May 2
  • 10 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, May 11

These workshops are scheduled at the CVWD Coachella Office, 51501 Tyler Street in Coachella:

  • 5:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, March 28
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 27

The proposed adjustments will impact residents, businesses and HOAs differently because the new proposed fixed rates vary based on customer class. A homeowner who efficiently uses water may only see a small monthly increase in their water bill.

Historic drought conditions and state-mandated conservation have encouraged changes to the water-budget based rate structure. In addition, CVWD is facing the largest capital improvement project in its history, responding to the state’s new drinking water standard for chromium-6. The best solution is projected to cost approximately $250 million in capital expenses, plus ongoing operation and maintenance costs. Ongoing capital improvement also is needed to protect the drinking water system to ensure it can meet the drinking water needs of approximately 318,000 residents daily.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Decreasing the indoor portion of the water budget to reflect industry standards based on today’s water-efficient appliances.
  • Tighten the outdoor portion of the water budget to promote conservation. Previously, the budgets were designed to allow enough water for 100% grass. Given the historic drought and increased support of desert-friendly landscaping, the budgets will be designed to accommodate 50% grass and 50% desert-friendly landscaping.
  • Slightly increase the irrigation efficiency factor for outdoor budgets.

The overall impact of these proposed changes is a reduction in water budget of approximately 25%, which is less restrictive than the temporary drought budgets.

A key component of the water budget is the weather. It allows the water budget to increase during hotter months and decrease during cooler months. CVWD is proposing to change from actual weather to historical, thereby allowing for water budgets to be calculated in advance to provide a monthly target to customers.

Other changes proposed for domestic water customers include consolidating five rate areas into one and increasing the fixed rate, which provides for more stability in revenue. In addition, the Cost of Service Study determined that different fixed rates should be established for different types of customers in order to reflect the true cost of service and promote financial stability. The proposal outlines four separate classes of fixed rates for single-family homes, multi-family residences, commercial buildings and dedicated landscape meters.

For an in-depth explanation of proposed water rate changes, information about upcoming public workshops and Board of Directors meetings, visit CVWD’s website at www.cvwd.org/ratechanges. Information also is available about Replenishment Assessment Charge (RAC) and canal rates.

CVWD welcomes participation and input throughout the process as the Board considers the proposed rate increases. Residents and other interested individuals may attend any public meeting of the Board of Directors to provide comments or can comment on the website.

The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.

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