Water rates could double in five years

Jan 28, 2020

In five years, the average homeowner in Santa Monica could be paying $60 more per month for water and wastewater.

City Council will vote Tuesday whether to hike water and wastewater rates to fund infrastructure projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water by 2023. If the council approves the proposed five-year rate structure, water rates will rise by 20% in the first year, 18% in the second year and by 14% annually for the following three years. Wastewater rates will increase by 10% annually for the first four years and by 3% in the fifth year.

Starting this year, the average single-family home will pay $18 more per month for both services. The bill for an eight-unit apartment building will increase by $24 and the typical commercial customer will pay an additional $43. (All customers are billed bimonthly.)

The low-income subsidy, which reduces the water rate by $1 per hundred cubic feet, would remain in place. The current drought rate structure would also go into effect in the event of a statewide drought mandate.

The rate increases will finance almost $42 million in projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which officials say will keep costs down in the long term and shield the city from the effects of droughts.

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