More Water Rate Increases?
By Kim Lefner
San Juan residents, hold onto your wallets. The City Council majority of Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor recently voted to proceed with the “Option 1 water rate study”. Considering that water rate “studies” typically result in rate increases (and in my opinion, are designed to justify rate increases), it’s safe to assume that the council majority is aiming to increase your water rates.
The current option increases the basic “Tier 1” amount of water allowed by the City from its current 6ccf to 9 ccf (1 ccf is equal to 100 cubic feet of water or 748 gallons). Increasing the allocation sounds like a good thing, but this allocation is based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines*, a third-world standard for emergency indoor water use at 62 gallons per person per day. For a family of 4 this equals 7,440 gallons per month. In a modern country, 14,960 gallons per month for a family of 4 would be considered barely adequate for indoor use, even with water-saving appliances and no outdoor irrigation.
The problem with setting the allocation at 9ccf is that it is so low that it will cause an average family to use more water than Tier 1 allows, which then forces them into Tier 2, which in turn increases the cost by 39%. This raises the question; is the allocation about conservation or is it about increasing revenue to the City?