CVWD News

Posted on: April 26, 2016

District mails information about proposed rate increases

Domestic Proposition 218 mailer

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) has begun mailing Proposition 218 notices to customers within the agency service area regarding proposed rate increases and rate structure changes.

Based on a comprehensive Cost of Service Study and national industry standards, CVWD staff has proposed a five year plan for domestic water rates. A public hearing for the board to consider and vote on the proposed rate changes for domestic water customers has been set for 9 a.m. June 14 at the Steve Robbins Administration Building at 75515 Hovley Lane East in Palm Desert. If approved, the new rates would go into effect on July 1 and would be the first rate increases for domestic water since 2010.

The historic drought and state-mandated conservation are factors that encourage 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. The new 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 budgets 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 and providing a monthly target for 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. Four separate classes have been proposed for fixed rates: single family homes, multifamily residences, commercial customers, and dedicated landscape meters.

Proposition 218 notices also have been sent to the district's Replenishment Assessment Charge (RAC) and canal customers. A public hearing to consider the RAC increases has been set for 9 a.m. May 24 at CVWD's Coachella office at 51501 Tyler St. A public hearing to consider the canal increases is set for 9 a.m. April 26 at CVWD's Coachella office.

Additional information about the proposed water rate changes and dates of upcoming public workshops and Board of Directors meetings is available at www.cvwd.org/ratechanges

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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