Daly City mulls surge in water rates to offset costs 

Water bills in Daly City could increase by about 10 percent every year for the next five years to cover production costs that aren’t getting any cheaper.

The average household bill, currently $31.64 a month, would increase to $34.48 next year and to $53.28 by 2014. And according to the city’s Department of Water and Wastewater Resources, that is mainly because its biggest provider — the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which supplies Daly City with 59 percent of its water — is also increasing costs.

The remaining water comes from a shared aquifer that is pumped through wells, treated, combined with SFPUC’s water and then dispersed.

And while the SFPUC has also projected a five-year cost plan, it has agreed to vote on its wholesale bills annually to cover two-thirds of a $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Project, more than 80 projects spanning over seven counties.

“They’re just an estimate,” SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said.

If there is any fluctuation between what SFPUC charges Daly City and what the city charges property owners, the City Council would have to vote again to change its five-year plan.

“If we don’t pass the rate increase? Then like anything else we’d be looking at significant changes at the way we do business,” Daly City Water Resources director Patrick Sweetland said. “It’s the cost of water. It’s going to be increasing and, as a result, we want this program to be successful.”

Then there is the unreliable groundwater — the other 41 percent — that is sanitary, but limited because it comes from an aquifer.

Wastewater Resources has a recycled water plant that redistributes used and treated water for golf course landscapes, and wants to extend the program in coming years.

“The challenge with moving that forward is how to look at expanding those types of activities … expanding landscape irrigation, maybe to some parks and focus on recycled water,’’ Sweetland said.

The City Council will hear letters and protests from property owners at a public hearing June 28 before it votes on approving the five-year increase.

Rising tide

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Daly City are considering raising water rates every year for the next five years. The SFPUC percentages are estimates, while Daly City’s are projected mandates. Dates are by fiscal year.

SFPUC: 15%   
Daly City: 9%

SFPUC: 10%
Daly City: 12%

SFPUC: 29%
Daly City: 12%

Daly City: 12%

SFPUC: 12%
Daly City: 10%

Sources: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Daly City


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