People are grousing more than ever about their water bills here in our town.
We’re not alone. People all over Southern California are confused as to why they are using less water and paying more.
“We’re paying too much for water!”
“Our rates are too high!”
Well, yes, we are, and yes, they are ... but there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it—there’s not a whole lot our water agencies, in our case , can do about it either.
Here's the quick course on where our water comes from:
Ninety percent of the water that comes out of our taps comes from the Colorado River and the State Water Project. Amounts vary each day, depending on the weather conditions the previous winter in Northern California.
Since we don’t own either source, and those aren’t OUR canals and pipelines, we have to buy it from the people who DO own those canals and pipelines.
We buy our water from the San Diego County Water Authority, which buys it from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC), which apparently buys it directly from God.
Do the bigger agencies pass their costs along to us at the bottom of the waterfall?
Does the sun come up in the East?
All of this means agencies like have to walk the thin, and not always apparent, line between two extremes—trying to keep its customers happy, while paying what the bigger entities need and demand.
Padre Dam General Manager Allen Carlisle sums up the way the juggling game goes:
“Water use is down 23 percent, because of the 60 percent rate increases from MWDSC over the past three years, economic recession, mandatory conservation, and this year, wet and cool weather,” said Carlisle.
So, let’s say you’re an average, single family home here in Santee.
Your water bill, in all likelihood, is going to be around $78 a month, or a little more, depending on how much water you actually use. Some of that is a fixed rate, and the rest goes up and down.
In the past few years, we have all been heeding the call to conserve, as Carlisle noted above.
Now that the drought is over (Jerry Brown and Metropolitan say it is, so it MUST be true, right?) let’s NOT jump to the hose and start soaking down the lawn and garden you’ve sorta been letting go brown lately, OK?
Carlisle says the end of the drought, if it IS in fact over, isn’t going to mean your water bills are going down—the opposite is more likely the case.
“We may see an uptick in water use from those customers who reduced their water use when we went to mandatory conservation, but those customers impacted by the recession and the higher cost of water are, unfortunately, not going to see much relief. We will be able to increase everyone’s daily water allocation, but wholesale water rates are not going down.”
It’s a simple equation: The less you use, the less you’ll pay.
We here in Santee have managed to get our daily per capita usage down to 121 gallons—that’s the amount each person uses in a day—on average.
I guess the city's teenagers have stopped taking showers—ha, that'll be the day!
I’ll be writing more on water issues. LOTS more.
Pardon me—I gotta go get my grandson out of the shower. He’s been in there since I started writing this.