EBMUD board approves increase in water rates


East Bay Municipal Utility District directors voted unanimously today to approve a two-year operating budget that calls for water rate increases of 6 percent a year for each of the next two years.

The rate increases generated little controversy, as only four people spoke on the matter at today's meeting and board members said only a handful of their constituents had contacted them to oppose the increases.

EBMUD board chairman John Coleman said the increases are needed to maintain the agency's strong bond rating, which will hold down ratepayer costs for major construction projects and infrastructure maintenance.

The first rate hike for the water agency's 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties will take effect on July 1, and the second increase is scheduled to occur on July 1, 2012.

The increases mean that the typical residential water customer who uses 270 gallons of water a day will see their bill go from $38.66 per month to $40.98 a month in fiscal 2012 and to $43.45 per month in fiscal 2013.

The average residential wastewater customer's monthly bill will go from $15.10 now to $16 in fiscal 2012 and $16.94 in fiscal 2013.

EBMUD directors approved a $372 million operating budget for fiscal 2012 and a $395 million budget for fiscal 2013.

Water agency spokesman Charles Hardy said the budgets for the next two years represent only a modest increase over this year's $369 million budget even though the agency's debt service costs have risen and increases are expected in operating expenses for facilities and infrastructure maintenance and petroleum-based products such as paving materials.

Hardy said EBMUD has balanced its budget in recent years by cutting its spending, not filling positions that open up when employees retire or take other jobs and having employees forego pay raises.

Hardy said EBMUD's budget also has been helped by savings from its energy-saving efforts, especially in its wastewater division.

He said the water agency generates most of the power it uses to run its main wastewater treatment plant from methane gas it captures and processes at the site.

The facility soon will be completely self-sufficient and generate enough power to sell back to the grid and save customers in the process, Hardy said.


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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Dear Editor,

An invitation is being sent to John Coleman and the EBMUD Board to meet with >70,000 customers in the East Bay. Neighborhoods' counsel has confirmed that a meeting is the first step to regulatory, legislative and legal actions, including federal intervention, to ensure that EBMUD cannot operate autonomously in penalizing our corridor, as prejudiced action, in service to inner bay customers.

The goal is to claim a demand right to a volume of water at an acceptable cost to service the 24/680 south corridor.

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

This is a good example why we the people get what we deserve, me included.

Only 4 people attended the meeting to protest the increase.

When those brain dead leader's see that no one gives a darn, the stick it to us. Reminds me of the old days when the unions voted at 2:00am. That's when all the hard working folks went home and to bed so they could get up in the morning and go to work. The only one's left in the union hall were the thug's pushing their agenda.

We get what we deserve...Save water and pay more.

Thanks for listening, Julia from Alamo

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Posted by member
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

How much of this added cost of water is due to the greenies and the purchase of inefficient energy when we have plenty of water?

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

Is that a 12% increase in EBMUD water rates? Or is that a 6% increase, then followed by another 6% on top of the new higher rate--which ultimately results in something more than 12%?
I'm unhappy with the water rate increase! After years of conserving water and frugally minimizing my usage, the argument given is that "rates have to go up because not enough water is being used" and not enough water revenue being generated.
I suspect the "silent majority" is NOT happy either. Just because only 4 people showed up, doesn't mean "jack"--doesn't mean that most people are pleased.
Let's see, if all of our utility bills slid up more than 12% and we stay silent, that means that we are happy and pleased. You'd better think again!
We only have so much time and energy in our day.
We RELY on politicians and overseeing agencies to protect our interests.
And WE HAVE GIVEN UP ANY HOPE of actually being heard or being effective, anyway.
We know that this was a done deal. Would 200 people showing up have changed the decision significantly--probably not. 2000 people?
What do you want from us--riots in the street!?! That we vandalize water mains or EBMUD signage?
Do we really have to do anything to make you understand the obvious--GOVERNMENTAL COSTS TO US OUR TOO HIGH!! Cut costs, reduce your margins, trim your fat, work harder and smarter--and quit robbing us!

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Posted by KJ
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Although only four people actually attended the Board meeting to voice their concerns, EBMUD received 800 protest letters.

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Posted by Buckley
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Once again I am compelled morally and responsibly to respond to the rate increases proposed FY10 & FY11. We are asked to conserve and use less … yet to “pay more”! As a former business person, I would be a rich man if I were able to charge more for less. Overhead cost must be trimmed in proportion to income generated. Business 101 teaches this principle. The district needs to reassess their technical approach to this water management situation. To sit back year after year depending on “Mother Nature” to supply adequate water resources is irresponsible. Construction of the new facilities that will access supplemental supplies from the Sacrament River is planning ahead and a good start in this direction.

However, unlike other areas of the country, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a myriad of lakes, streams, rivers and, not to be discounted, the ocean. Why hasn’t the district prevailed in implementation of reclaimed water, for use in irrigation & other non-potable systems throughout the entire district? Other sources of supply prevail. For over 50 years, the Middle East countries have relied on desalination of the Gulf waters. Desalination is not a new technology. As far as cost effective reasoning, it would seem we are close to equalizing the cost of delivering sustainable water from the oceans vs the depleting supplies obtained from the lakes & streams. It is very apparent to everyone that the resources we have relied on in the past are slowly being depleted. We can preserve what is left of these resources if we perform some brainstorming that would enable us to make use of existing technologies.

As a supplier of a commodity upon which so many people are dependent, it is irresponsible and a dereliction of the responsibility entrusted to you, the Board of Directors of the District, to expect the burden of water conservation to be solely placed upon the people. It is a disservice to the people you serve. For the prohibitive rates we are subject to, the people deserve more.

Let’s change the laid back attitude this district has had and join the modern era of creativity and ingenuity that prevails throughout the rest of the country and the World.

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Posted by Cathy
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 17, 2011 at 6:48 am

So seriously, let's get a protest march in motion, it would be my first. Alert the news media to be there. How can we keep letting this happen? King Coleman and the board have to see their very angry customers up close. Someone name a time and place please.

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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

This is our reward (as sheep) but conserving water!

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Posted by Dan From San Ramon
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:24 am

Folks, has nothing to do about 'saving water' or green initiatives, etc.

Obviously the 12% plus increase goes to pay higher salaries for the Board members, a full pension no doubt until death, 401-K matched at 100% no doubt, full health benefits at 100% no doubt, but is there a massuese on staff? They are voting on themselves, no doubt it was unanimous!

Everyone gets it. Quote "Operating Budget" should be called the "Unbelievable Benefits and Pay Budget" for those that work there.

Dan From San Ramon

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