Your water meter rate will double in July based upon the current proposal of the Ad Hock Committee for the Water Rate Study.
Over the years your city government fiddled while the pipes feeding your water faucet deteriorated to the point that now it must escalate funding to replace infrastructure. Half of the pipes and pumps feeding your faucet are over 50 years old with a pipe breaking nearly every three days. A broken pipe leaves you without water and fire protection affecting the health and safety of you and your family as well as an inconvenience during the repair of the roads affected by the break.
A toxic underground plume has already shut down three Fullerton wells. New wells must be drilled or existing wells must drill down further to reach potable water.
Is this an emergency? Yes, according to Dr. Mark Shapiro, member of the committee. Yet the committee is taking it so seriously that they recommend replacing between 6 and 9 miles of pipe every year at a cost of nearly 15 million dollars a year. However, since 50% of the 400 plus miles of pipe in the Fullerton water system are over 50 years old, replacement—this emergency—will never be addressed.
According to Dr. Shapiro, a bond to replace infrastructure more quickly would have to be as high as $850 million dollars. A speed up of replacement would interrupt traffic and the city is unprepared to coordinate construction of this scale.
How do we communicate this dire need to the community? That is the concern of Thad Sanford, chairman of the committee. The proposed water rate must be approved by our city council to begin this infrastructure replacement. You must pay more for the water you use to fund this critical program.
Your bi-monthly water bill consists of a fixed charge for the meter plus a pass-through charge for the gallons of water you use. Calculations of bills for several users indicate increases ranging from 70% to nearly 185% by the year 2024. One resident will see his bi-monthly bill go from $50 to $138 even as he conserves water use.
Interestingly, the more water you use, the increase of your current bill may be lower because the rate for gallons used will decrease. Those households conserving water may have increases closer to the 185%. The new water rate proposal for the pass-through rate drops from $3.213 per thousand gallons for the first 7,500 gallons to $2.00 per thousand gallons for the first 12,200 gallons. More gallons at a lower rate which is contrary to the obvious need to conserve water in the State of California.
The committee will meet one more time to review the final report before going to the City Council for approval. The date will be publicized on the city website.