EBMUD water rate increases to take effect

9.5% rise, approved in 2013, to impact Danville, San Ramon users

Water rates for Danville and most of San Ramon will increase by 9.5% starting Tuesday (July 1), the last of back-to-back annual increases approved for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

The district's two-year budget, adopted in June 2013, included a 9.75% increase in fiscal year 2013-14, and a 9.5% increase for fiscal year 2014-15, which begins Tuesday.

"Raising rates is never popular, yet it was important that EBMUD raised the rates for fiscal year 2015," said EBMUD board member John Coleman, the representative for San Ramon and Danville.

The increased rates will help pay for infrastructure and maintenance work, which includes over 4,200 miles of pipelines, according to Coleman.

"Currently we are replacing close to 14 miles (each year)," he said. "Our goal is eventually 40 miles per year."

According to EBMUD representative Abby Figueroa, the water agency started making budget cuts and staff reductions that led to "quite the backlog of projects."

"This budget helps us get back on track," she added.

Another main reason for the increase is financial security, Figueroa said.

EBMUD had to increase its reserves in order to protect its credit rating and to borrow the lowest rate possible for the big capital projects the infrastructure requires, according to Figueroa. In addition, there were adjustments made to the water use projections.

"We can't count on increased water sales to balance our budget, and especially in a drought, we don't want to," said Figueroa.

Due to this year's drought, EBMUD customers are using about 11% less water, Coleman said.

"The bottom line, we are a water agency and the less water we sell, the more it costs," he added.


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Posted by Louisa
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:32 am

Wonder if the increased water rates are to also pay for the 30% overtime costs?

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

Of course it is Louise...Anytime a business increases rates it is to cover their operating expenses plus maintain their profit margin...

We the People have nothing to say about it but to pay it...Or do we...The trouble with "We The People" is that we do not know how to engage and enforce our power. WE THE PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE BUT WE THE PEOPLE ARE TOO INVOLVED WITH SMALL PETTY ISSUES OF LIFE AND LET THE OFFICIALS SCREW US LEFT AND RIGHT. WE WILL NEVER, NEVER LEARN HOW TO USE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE TO GOVERN OUR DESTINY. It's too bad but it's the truth.

Thank you listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo

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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 1, 2014 at 11:14 am

Guess I wouldn't be so concerned if I knew they were making a concerted effort to reduce some major employee benefits. No longer can a public agency PAY for spouse yet alone ALL dependents in most public agencies - ALL THEIR MEDICAL. This adds up to thousands of dollars per employee. This practice needs to be curtailed BEFORE they once again (-since 1995 and yearly?) increase water usage rates.

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Posted by Xin Han
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Make it more costly to use water and hopefully we will see some restraint in this drought year.

Hey whiners - if you don't want your bill to go up, USE LESS WATER!

Thank you EBMUD.

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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Well the first "gotta go" or reduction is obviously, LAWNS. Funny how MANY refuse to give them up/reduce them in size! The time has finally arrived to do so (or spend the money on a grey water irrigation system)Many great hardscapes and stellar ideas out there to supercede lawn AND? Both its maintenance as well as its high usage of water.

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Posted by KG
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 1, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Few government agencies offer free medical benefits coverage to dependents. Name one. In fact, in many agencies employees must share premium costs. Don't blame higher fees on this--it is a red herring. How about the Great Recession? Which resulted in deferred maintenance, staff reductions, demise of customer service. The way of the world. Be thankful you've got the best water to drink, bar none.

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Posted by JRM
a resident of Danville
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:45 am

I'm sipping my coffee made from the best water in the world and I'm reading a finding by our Grand Jury that EBMUD has consistently ignored the laws relative to transparency. The water may taste good but folks, however we are getting screwed.
Thanks to the members of the Grand Jury for their service.

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Posted by Long time resident
a resident of Danville
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

My family has been here since 1955. It is interesting how EBMUD has raised rates and required us to conserve over the years only to keep adding new customers without any consideration or restrictions on their water use. For example, how many new customers are being added right now at the Ellworthy Ranch development? If we are so tight on water, why do the planners keep adding to the demand by approving new housing developments all over the valley?

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Posted by Deb
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:33 am

Long time resident------
I agree with you 100%. It's ridiculous.

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Posted by Rita
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

How many ILLEGALS are taking our water!? Militarize the border NOW!

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Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

Poor Rita: you really don't know how this works, do you? You may not have noticed, but any water that anyone drinks is fairly promptly returned to the local environment (in several ways, but you may be delicate, so just trust me on this one). The mental image of ALLL those "illegals" (meaning anyone who didn't use the Bering land bridge?) gulping water and then high-tailing it to Mexico to return it ... well, thanks for the chuckle.

You know, Rita -- if you REALLY wanna git them furriners, drink Corona, heavily. All that Mexican water will come back to us here in the good ol' US of A. Cheers!

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Hey Xin are not thinking with your mind...

Hey my Blackhawk friend...think only pay less when you use less water until they (EBMUD) realize that they are getting less money from you and that less money can not pay the mismanaged operating expenses.

So Xin Han when you use less you will end up paying more for less. You get it?

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo

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Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Of course, there is a solution nobody wants to talk about or consider. If we allowed fracking in California, there is enough natural gas to heat our houses, power our trucks and buses, as well as run desalizination plants for decades. We could be self-sufficient in energy and water if we wanted. Instead, we prefer to mess with solar and wind as we buy hydro-power from Oregon and "green" energy from other states as they build gas-fired power plants to meet their own energy needs.

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jul 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Well, you are right about one thing LTR: if we frack, we will have to desalinate. That's because our ground water will be too poisonous to consume for the next 5000 years.
You might want to spend some time watching Gasland, parts 1 and 2. No, it's not left wing propaganda, though somehow I can easily imagine that some posters here will probably believe that if Fixed Noise is their primary news source.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 8, 2014 at 8:20 am

Anyone using our water here illegally is a thief. I'm with Rita.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by fairness
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

The problem with this increase is NOT that the infrastructure needs to be maintained, it is essential that it is. The problem is that this revenue requirement should have come from the "Water Service Charge" not the "flow charge" . Yet again the residents of the inland valleys are being asked to pay an disproportinate amount to subsidise the service costs in Oakland and the cooler bayside communities. Hopefully the 2014 elections will produce board members who treat all utility customers fairly.

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