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.