Water Rate Increase Proposal

To: the Fullerton City Council Members

Regarding: Water Rate Increase Proposal

The water bill effective July 1 will shock Fullerton residents.  You will be creating a “gilets jaunes” event if you approve the Water Rate Increase proposal. 

If you haven’t already done so, calculate the increase in your bill and you will be stunned. Assuming you are actively conserving water, the first year and cumulative 5 year increases are exorbitant.

You have done little to convince residents that our deteriorating water system infrastructure commands immediate funding.  A water break every three days and well closures need to be addressed.  However, there are several issues with the proposal:

  • The biggest portion of the increase effective July 1 is to fund the water department. Maybe 25% of the increase goes to funding infrastructure replacement in the first 5 years. 
  • Replacement of infrastructure will advance at a snail’s pace.  Although a California low-interest loan was discussed and may be available for projects affecting health issues, a bond to replace pipe at a faster rate was not considered. 
  • The incentive to conserve water is sadly shattered by the increase in water allowed at a reduced rate in the first tier. Water usage allowable at the first tier increases 68% in gallons per billing period and the cost per thousand gallons drops by 39%.  Do we want to “maximize the amount of water pumped from the basin” or be smart and make smart choices?
  • California AB 1668 and SB 606 water efficiency standards effective in June 2022 were not considered.  The first tier should be a baseline for all residents.  Subsequent tiers should include pass through and other costs.
  • For transparency and comparisons, calculations for rate effects on residents should be based upon the current bimonthly billing period, not monthly.  Effective July 1, the rate for a 1 inch meter will be $82.60 per billing period, an increase of 133%, before any water is used. 
  • For transparency, the bimonthly water bill should separate out cost for running the department, cost for water usage and costs for infrastructure repair. 
  • Residents who conserve water might request to change-out meters from 1” to 5/8” based upon the return on investment to make the replacement.  

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