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Carlsbad Water and Sewer Rate Increases Lower than Expected in 2013

Water rates will go up 8 percent instead of 10 percent, and sewer rates will increase 2 percent instead of 6 percent.

On Dec. 6, 2011, Carlsbad passed a two-year rate increases for water and sewer services to cover the rising cost of water, increased maintenance and operation costs, and the need to establish an adequate operating and replacement fund.

On Jan. 1, 2012, water rates increased 10 percent, and sewer rates increased 6.5 percent.  

After updating the five-year financial forecasts of the water and sewer utilities, staff are now recommending lower rate increases for Jan. 1, 2013, than the maximum rates previously approved.

Water rate increases are driven largely by the increasing cost of purchasing imported water. Carlsbad currently relies on imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California for all of its drinking water supply. The cost of imported water is increasing due to legal and environmental constraints on these sources. 

–City of Carlsbad

JC December 01, 2012 at 10:03 PM
The method of spiking a price, appalling customers--then lowering the spike, calming customers ("Oh, good! We're paying LESS of an increase!") is a proven way to steadily hike costs without people hitting the streets. Government is learning from the oil industry how to turn the screw slower. It is a fact that fresh water will be increasingly scarce as our population grows, and thus more challenging to maintain a supply. The IDEA of building a desal plant is sound. Having an independent source of water in arid SoCal is a no-brainer, as outside sources become more stretched. But it is very important now to know that Carlsbad is going to be beholden to a privatized water source, Poseidon Resources Group, in the near future. We must be extra vigilant about non-essential rate hikes. There will be shareholders, speculators and well-paid CEOs behind the cost of Carlsbad citizens' most essential resource. Access to a healthy supply of water is a right. If water is considered a commodity, as private industry will have it, we will be subject to rate increases that will only go up. As with our SDG&E bills, I envision a little white insert along with each monthly water bill notifying the public in fine print of yet another proposed rate increase. Large numbers of people may no longer be able to pay overhead and governmental assistance programs enacted (as exists for SDG&E customers) to subsidize struggling rate payers. Taxpayers would end up double-paying the water brokers.

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