Water & Sewer Rate Adjustment Went Into Effect January 1, 2019 - New Rates Appearing on February Bills
Based on the currently approved schedule, rate adjustments were instituted on January 1, which included the following changes:
- Sewer Rates
- For the typical single-family residential sewer customer, the sewer rate will increase by $0.24 / month, to $9.29 / month (currently at $9.05 / month)
- Water Rates
- For the typical single-family residential water customer, the water rate will increase by $7.57 / month, to $65.28 / month (currently at $57.71 / month)
- Please note – the water rate adjustment is being instituted to fund the regional Watermaster plan to purchase and import water into our aquifer.
Although the rate adjustments took place at the beginning of the year, residents will see the changes on their February 2019 utility bill.
Reasons for the Water Rate Adjustment
The City of Monrovia draws its water from multiple underground aquifers within the Main San Gabriel Basin ("Basin"), which is managed by the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster ("Watermaster"). The Basin is currently experiencing unprecedented drought conditions that require drastic measures be taken to replenish the water supply and raise groundwater levels. For nearly six years, the Basin has sustained the worst-ever drought conditions on record. Even though California received record rainfall this past year, which led Governor Brown to declare the State of California drought free on April 4, 2017, the situation in the Basin is still dire, as the condition of the aquifer means that our region is still in a serious drought condition.
In order for the Basin aquifer to be considered healthy, groundwater levels at the Key Well need to consistently be above 200 feet, with a recommended operating level of 250 feet. The lowest that our groundwater levels have ever reached was 172.2 feet in October 2016. As of November 3, 2017, the current key well level was 183.2 feet. These dangerously low groundwater levels threaten to render 10% of all water production wells in the Basin inoperable, which could lead to widespread water shortages.
Historically, the Basin’s water management plan relied on rain to recharge our underground aquifer. However, in response to the extended drought, the Watermaster recently developed a Drought Management Plan, which involves purchasing imported water to help replenish the Basin.
In addition to developing the Drought Management Plan, in May 2017, the Watermaster implemented new directives that create two significant new costs for water production on all retail water producers in the San Gabriel Valley, which entails approximately 30 agencies, including the City of Monrovia.
Regulatory agencies that manage the groundwater in our region have the ability to levy pass-through assessments onto the City. These agencies include the Watermaster as well as the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District ("Upper District"), which purchases and resells available imported water to local agencies within the Basin.
For additional background information, please view the agenda report and presentation from the November 7th, 2017 City Council Meeting:
- City Council Agenda Report - November 7, 2017
- Updated Water Rate Presentation to City Council - November 7, 2017
- Community Meeting Presentation
New Water Rates
The new water rates take into consideration the City's ongoing operational costs, the costs of capital replacement and maintenance, and the costs of purchasing additional water, which includes pass-through assessments.
The water service charge is comprised of two components, both of which have proposed adjustments:
- A fixed monthly water service ("stand by") charge, which is based on the customer's water meter size; and
- A per-unit consumption charge, which varies based on the amount of water used during each monthly billing period.
Currently, the typical single-family residential customer pays an average of $40.84 / month for water service based on 15 units of water consumption. Based on the proposed rates, these residential customer bills will increase by $16.87 / month in 2018, bringing the typical residential customer bill to $57.71 / month. Rates will continue to increase through 2022, when it is estimated that the typical residential bill will be $77.70 / month, which is $36.86 / month more than what residents are paying today.
- Water Rate Summary 2018-2022 - All Customer Categories
|Service Description||Current Monthly Water Rates||New Monthly Water Rates|
|Water service charge for a typical single-family residence (5/8 or 3/4 inch meter sizes)||$15.34||$30.56||$34.53||$37.12||$39.91||$41.10|
|Per-unit consumption rate (748 gallons/unit)||$1.70||$1.81||$2.05||$2.20||$2.37||$2.44|
|Total Monthly Estimated Charge*||$40.84||$57.71||$65.28||$70.12||$75.46||$77.70|
* Estimated charge based on an average of 15 units of water consumption in a month. Actual totals will vary based on water usage.
Senior / Low Income / Veteran Discounts Available
A discount will continue to be offered to residents for whom the proposed rates would present an undue burden. The discounts are available to qualifying customers who are seniors (65+), economically disadvantaged, and veterans.